Source: Author

Guest Review: Son of a Preacher Man by Karen M Cox + Interview

Posted July 3, 2018 by Lily B in Guest Post, Interview / 17 Comments

Guest Review: Son of a Preacher Man by Karen M Cox + InterviewSon of a Preacher Man by Karen M. Cox
Series: standalone
Published by Adalia Street Press on July 1, 2018
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 274
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

“Love has power we disregard at our peril...”
It’s 1959 — and although the country is poised at the edge of a tidal wave of social change, Billy Ray Davenport anticipates living a traditional, predictable life. Handsome, principled, and keenly observant, he arrives in town to lodge with the Millers, the local doctor’s family. Billy Ray has visited the small Southern town of Orchard Hill several times when he accompanied his father, a widowed traveling minister. But he never bargained for Lizzie Quinlan—a complex, kindred spirit who is beautiful and compassionate, yet scorned by the townsfolk. Could a girl with a reputation be different than she seems? With her quirky wisdom and a spine of steel hidden beneath an effortless sensuality, Lizzie is about to change Billy Ray’s life—and his heart—forever.A realistic look at first love, told by an idealistic young man, Son of a Preacher Man is a heartwarming coming of age tale set in a simpler time.

“He was the only son of a Preacher Man… the only one who could ever move me…”
Yep, it is connected to the old song written by John Hurley and Ronnie Walkins and sung by Dusty Springfield among others. And, it’s also equally influenced by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I love that the author set this one in the late fifties in a rural community area and then moved things to the city as a pair of young star-crossed lovers head out into the big wide world.

This was a tender story of first love, but so much more. There is a coming of age story all told through Billy Ray’s eyes. He’s had to grow up quickly and be responsible because of his mom’s death and knocking about with his dad, but because he’s preacher’s son, he’s also somewhat sheltered and innocent. Lizzy has been limited in her education and knowledge of the world outside her town, but she is wise to worldliness and hard-living with her family on the grub farm. My heart went out for this girl and I teared up at one point as her past was fully revealed. I got quite angry at a few people just like Billy Ray.

This story has one of my favorite settings- small town. But, instead of the romantic nostalgia that can paint a picture of the best side, this shows the uglier side, too. We have a small community set on believing the worst in one of their own even without evidence, what trouble a malice-filled girl can stir up, and Lizzy’s pain and strength needed to make it even years under a bad reputation before getting out to make good on her dreams.

The historical era was there and gave a nice layer of verisimilitude without taking over the engaging, gently-paced story.

The book has a strong faith element because of Billy Ray’s Christian outlook and he leans on his faith to try to help Lizzy through her pain and as his own guidepost, but it isn’t an inspirational fiction and there are no attempts to push his faith on others or on the reader, for that matter. Not that he needs to because it was still an era when the average person in rural America made nominal claims to Christianity. I respect that he lived out what he believed and that part of his struggle was how to reconcile his attraction for Lizzy with his dad’s concerns about falling for ‘that kind of girl’, respecting her need to pursue her own career when he’d been taught that women were to be the homemakers, and his acceptance that Lizzy is his equal not lesser because she is female.

All in all, this was a heartwarming story that had a strong flavor of nostalgia that was tempered with bittersweet reality. The pains and joys of coming of age and first love along with figuring out life while pursuing education. It was a well-written, well-developed story with engaging characters and elements. It had me smiling, laughing, crying, and swooning. Those who enjoy slightly sweet with a little spice, modern historical, and influences from an old song and an even older story should give it a look-see.

My thanks to the author for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Interview with Karen M. Cox

Howdy, Readers!
Today, I get the privilege of hosting an author who I’ve had the pleasure of reading her books over the last few years. Her books have taken me into the near past of America’s South and all the way to Cold War Europe for heartwarming romance and engaging characters. In honor of her latest release, Son of a Preacher Man (which makes a great summer beach ride, by the by), Karen Cox is joining us today.

Hey, Karen!
Hey there! Thanks so much for letting me stop in!
How is your summer treating you?
It has been fabulous so far. I’m a public school speech pathologist in real life, so I have some time to myself in the summers. I’ve just finished a trip to the Pacific Northwest to see some friends, which was fabulous, and I’ll be attending my first Romance Writers of America conference in July. Put that together with swimming, playing with my son’s 3 year-old daughter, going to lunch with my college-aged daughter, and Life Is Good!

Just so you know, I have had that old song stuck in my head off and on for a few months now.
Mua-ha-ha!
Fortunately for you, I happen to like the song. *gives her guest a narrow-eyed look*

I’m going to go out on a limb that the story was inspired by the song, but I’m always curious. How did it come about?
Well, it initially grew out of a discussion with some Jane Austen fans about what would be an analogous Darcy/Lizzy social divide in various times and places. I laughingly proposed that there would be no greater divide than between a girl with a reputation and a minister’s son in a small, Southern town before the Sexual Revolution of the 60s. The “Son of a Preacher Man” song was mentioned by someone, and since “FitzWILLIAM Darcy” was kind of like “BILLY Ray”, that suggested the hero’s name. It just evolved from there until it turned into an original story inspired by Pride and Prejudice.

What are some details you can share to entice our readers? Are we looking at a ‘wrong side of the tracks’ romance plot? I love those.
Yes, I would say that in the book’s time and place, Lizzy would be considered a girl from the “wrong side of the tracks.” But the story has its surprises too. Billy Ray is an unusual young man. He’s naïve and traditional in some ways, but he’s observant and open-minded in others. He has his old-fashioned side, but he thinks his way through his dilemmas and comes to his own conclusions. Lizzie is, to my mind, just delightful—beautiful and sensual, but with a child-like curiosity about the world; wounded but willing to open her heart; and always, always seeking knowledge and answers. (Yeah. I love them. A lot.)

Now, I understand that Son of a Preacher Man is a remake of At the Edge of the Sea. What instigated the re-write and can you share what sort of changes were involved?
I had been considering a rerelease of At the Edge of the Sea for its 5th birthday for a long time. One major change was that I went back to the story’s original title, Son of a Preacher Man. I had changed the title because I wanted to distinguish the story from what might have been considered traditional Christian fiction at that time. Son of a Preacher Man definitely has inspirational themes—that’s somewhat necessary, given who the hero is—but it also has an…I don’t know, an “edgy” side to it too. It’s not a tale that slides neatly into a genre. Over time, I grew to realize that Son of a Preacher Man is the title that represents the story best. So, I retitled, re-edited, and had a new cover designed (shout out to MadHat Books and Joshua Hollis.) And here ya go!

Should those who already read At the Edge of the Sea grab up this latest translation of the story? Maybe treat it as a good opportunity for a re-read?
I would be thrilled if readers wanted to treat themselves to Billy Ray and Lizzie’s story again! The changes I made were minor—a polishing, tightening of the prose, the cover, the title.
In spite of a glowing review from Publishers’ Weekly, winning two categories (Romance and Chick Lit) of the Next Generation Independent Book Awards, and over 4 star rating at Amazon and GoodReads, At the Edge of the Sea wasn’t widely known, either by fans of Austenesque literature or those outside that fanbase. The re-release is my hopeful attempt to share the story with more readers who would enjoy it. Which, for me, is what writing is all about.

Your characters, Billy Ray and Lizzy, are young. Would you describe your story as a Coming of Age? Or does the story stay with them into their adult years?
Yes, I would definitely consider this a coming-of-age story. I think it has a lot to say to young people trying to figure out who they are and how to reconcile their pasts with their futures. But I also think it strikes a nostalgic chord for readers who might remember the 1950s-60s time frame (or heard stories about it from parents, grandparents, etc.), or really, for anyone who likes laid-back stories of small towns and first loves that endure.

I have noted this in the past, but I love how you have focused your stories on what I’ll dub the modern historical eras in America. What appeals to you about writing in this time frame?
I’ll be honest—I don’t know what draws me to 20th Century time periods in my writing. Perhaps it’s that they aren’t usually popular settings for romantic fiction, although I have seen more World War 2 era books recently. I like that the 20th Century isn’t far enough removed to be trendy or cool, but yet it’s a fascinating time. Think how rapidly the world changed in those 100 years. So much happened—why not tell stories with that change as a backdrop?

What do you consider the challenge of writing more modern historicals?
Actually, it’s not that difficult because the historical information is, for the most part, readily accessible. Also, I lived through some of that time and have some personal experience to draw from. I do have an unfortunate tendency to go down a “rabbit hole” when doing 20th Century research. I have to remember to pull myself out and go write periodically!

Do you have a favorite scene you can share with us?
Oh, it would give too much away if I shared my favorite! But how about this one? Billy Ray and Lizzie are both at the small town’s laundromat. I love the interaction between them in this scene:

The door to the laundromat was propped open with a cement block. The dank, soap-perfumed heat of clothes’ dryers poured out into the evening air.
A heavyset woman sat at the counter reading a magazine.
“Need some change, honey?”
“Yes, ma’am. Enough for two loads.” I handed her some bills. “And I need some soap too.” I took a quick look around, but there was no sign of Lizzie. I hoped I hadn’t missed her after all. I wanted to make up for not speaking to her at the library the other day—even though she had no idea I was there. I wanted to prove something to myself.
“Here you go.” The laundry attendant pushed the coins toward me, followed by a small box. I put my clothes in two side-by-side washers, read the directions on the lid, added soap and coins, pushed the button—and just about jumped out of my skin when I heard a blood-curdling shriek behind me. A blur of brown curls and a faded cotton dress raced from the back room toward the front door.
The attendant looked up from her magazine and frowned, grumpy but not irate. “Get that hellion out of here! She’s a menace.”
“Sorry, Miz Turner.”
I knew that voice. It set my stomach to flipping about like a trout on a fishing line. Lizzie Quinlan seemed unsurprised to see me, though.
“Oh hey, Billy Ray. I thought I heard you talking. Fancy meeting you here. Hold on a second.”
She blew by me and rounded the row of washers near the door. “All right, Lily, you little imp! I counted to fifty, and I found you fair and square.”
“Only if you catch me before I get back to base!” A little voice emerged from behind the washers on the next row. Lizzie pointed to the other end near the doorway to the next room and silently mouthed at me. “Head her off down there.”
I walked to the end of the row and stood in the door frame, arms folded, my best scowl in place. Lily came barreling down the aisle, squealing and laughing, looking behind her so she couldn’t see where she was going—and ran right into me.
“Hey you!” I tried to frown, but the shock on her face was so funny, I couldn’t keep it up. She looked up at me with big, brown eyes, her face drained of all color.
Lizzie swept in from behind, put her arms around her sister and twirled her about, laughing. “I got you! I got you! Now you’re It, Lily Lou!”
“No fair!” But now Lily was laughing too.
“Go back and check on our clothes, squirt,” Lizzie said.
Lily ran into the back room, and Lizzie turned to me. “So, Mr. Davenport does his own laundry. Couldn’t get Marlene to wash your undies for ya?” She grinned.
“She offered. I refused—as you see.”
Lizzie looked at me with a thoughtful expression. “Hey, c’mere a sec.” She started walking back to the room where her sister and their clothes were. “You been to college. I wanna ask you something.”
I followed her, my eyes dropping to her blue jean-clad bottom, bouncing up to her ponytail and then down again. She had a man’s shirt tied around her waist, and I wondered how a girl wearing men’s clothes could be so appealing. She stopped beside a couple of brassieres hanging over the side of a basket, feeling of them to see if they were dry.
“I, ah…” Swallowing nervously, I gazed up, down, anywhere but at her underthings.
“Your prissiness tickles me.” Her lighthearted laugh rang out. “No, I didn’t want to ask you about my underwear, College Man.”
I breathed a sigh of relief.
She picked up an old, thick textbook, and flipped back a couple of pages. “There.” She pointed. “How do you say that one?”
“Tanacetum parthenium. It’s feverfew—see here?” I pointed to the next line. “There’s the common name.”
“Then why don’t they just call it ‘feverfew’?” she asked with a touch of exasperation.
I tried to hide my smile. “It’s Latin. All the plants are organized into categories. The first name is called the genus, the group name. The second is the species, the group within the group. Like with animals—all cats belong to one genus, but bobcats are a specific type.”
She was watching me with wide-eyed interest, and it was strangely gratifying to have her hang on my every word.
“I didn’t know you were interested in botany.”
“Oh yes! I like to learn about plants. Mrs. Gardener got me started, but now I read on my own too.”
“Don’t they teach botany at the high school here?”
She shook her head. “Just chemistry and Earth science—not enough teachers.”
“Did you get the book from Mrs. Gardener?” I picked up the thick volume and turned it over in my hands, looking at the spine.
“Nope—the library. It’s an old book, but you gotta start somewhere, right?”
I grinned and handed it back to her. “Right. Botany doesn’t change that much anyway.”
“Plants fascinate me.” She thumbed through the book and shrugged her shoulders. “They seem so common, just your run-of-the-mill greenery growing in the field or beside the road. But hidden inside them is this amazing power. Some of them nourish or heal, but some of them can kill. The deadliest plants can appear so ordinary.”
“See? I’m not the only one that thinks about things real deeply—or looks to find answers in an old book.” I tapped the cover to illustrate my point.

Okay, I’ll wrap things up with my usual ‘what is next from the pen of Karen Cox?’
Well, my next published work is a short story in the Quill Collective’s Rational Creatures anthology. The collection is chock full of Regency-era stories about Austen’s female characters, all with an emphasis on how they were ahead of their time. My story is about the kind and elegant Eleanor Tilney, whose brother is the hero of Northanger Abbey.
After that, I’m torn. I’ve got several projects in my head: a Regency novel, an early 20th Century Western, another coming of age piece from the 1980s, and a women’s fiction piece about a young (late 40s) widow rebuilding her life. What to choose, what to choose? I guess I’ll figure it out along the way!
Glad to have you stop by today, Karen! I’ll just be slipping off now to torture my family while I sing the same lyrics over and over to the chorus of ‘Son of the Preacher Man’ …
“Bein’ good isn’t always easy, no matter how hard I try…”

Book Description:
“I forget that you’re a fella sometimes.”
“Gee, thanks.”
I never forgot that she was a girl. Not for one second…

1959. The long, hot Southern summer bakes the sleepy town of Orchard Hill. Billy Ray Davenport, an aspiring physician and only son of an indomitable traveling minister, is a young man with a plan that starts with working in a small-town doctor’s office before he begins medical school in the fall. Handsome, principled, and keenly observant, he arrives in town to lodge with the Millers, the local doctor’s family. He never bargained for Lizzie Quinlan—a complex, kindred spirit who is beautiful and compassionate, yet scorned by the townsfolk. Could a girl with a reputation be different than she seems? With her quirky wisdom and a spine of steel hidden beneath an effortless sensuality, Lizzie is about to change Billy Ray’s life—and his heart—forever.

A realistic look at first love, told by an idealistic young man, Son of a Preacher Man is a heartwarming coming of age tale set in a simpler time.
Available on Amazon and iBooks, Kobo, Barnes&Noble

Connect with Karen:
www.karenmcox.com
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About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Guest Review: Favour of the Gods: A Frewyn Novel by Michelle Franklin

Posted December 19, 2017 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 25 Comments

Morning everyone! Hope everyone has their cup off coffee, or a choice of drink because this morning the lovely Sophia Rose is back on the blog with another wonderful review!

Guest Review: Favour of the Gods: A Frewyn Novel by Michelle FranklinFavour of the Gods: A Frewyn Novel by Michelle Franklin
Series: standalone
Published by Self-published on October 22nd 2017
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 276
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A story about Gods and children, love and friendship:

Every child in Frewyn is taught that they were created by the Gods, and that every Frewyn is therefore considered with the same affection and given the same attention as everyone else.

This is somewhat untrue.

Aoidhe Dreen is a Gods' Son, a child thought to have a Frewyn God as a parent. While the birth of such a child is not common in the kingdom, and often goes unproven, the divine parentage of Aoidhe Dreen is accidentally discovered by Cgnita, a young cleric at the Kileen monastery, who suddenly finds himself the victim of the God of Japes and Justice, making him very sorry to have received the Favour of the Gods.

A charming gently-paced, fantasy tale of the Frewyn gods when they secretly defy the father god’s rule and dabble a little in the lives of their people. Each in their own way misses walking among and directly caring for their people and find ways to bestow aid where they will. I was delightfully engaged in this easy and light ramble that mostly follows the antics of the colorful, whimsical, and at times volatile, Aoidhe, as he responds to the needs and prayers of his people in his own brand of care.

The story takes place in the fantasy land of Frewyn made up of humans who are most akin to the earth though the greater world include other lands full of other peoples and magics. In time past, the gods retreated from their world and the people are left with some having faith they exist and care for the people and others in doubt.

The world is well drawn and elaborate so that I felt I could be reading of another culture’s real mythology. The people of Frewyn worship a pantheon of gods whose mythology will have familiar traits though apportioned differently perhaps such as Aoidhe who is a god of passion, fire, trickery, and justice or Fuinnag, a god of sky, weather, birds, and hope.

The plot is gentle, but steady in pacing. It has a high fantasy tone to the writing and employs older language and obscure words that solidify the feel of something of a slightly foreign, spicy flavor.

Part of the story follows the life of two Frewyn church brothers, Cgnita and Brudha- one a healer and the other the leader of the monastery like compound- who separately find themselves with an intimate encounter with the trickster Aoidhe and his brother gods in their turn. Cgnita needs a little help finding love which he cautiously accepts along with Aoidhe’s teases and Brudha is bemused at having a god for a friend.

And beyond this pair, there is a larger tale of Aoidhe and his fellow gods sometimes clashing and sometimes agreeing about how they can get around the edict that was set by the father of gods to stay out of the people’s lives so they can truly care for and help the people where they are called upon. I enjoyed each new encounter and had a good time with the lusty, down to earth Aoidhe as he negotiates matters to his satisfaction. It was fun to see him interacting with his brothers and the other gods. I have a soft spot for the ‘moper’, the god of earth and mountains, Menor.

In the end, I was delighted for the last scene to bring things full circle to an old familiar certain irascible farm woman, Baba Connridh. While, this story is a standalone, I definitely got more out of this final scene by having already read the earlier released, Baba Connridh novella.

I would recommend this book and others in the Frewyn world if you appreciate High Fantasy with a classical flavor and particularly if you enjoy good strong world building and mythology.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Review: The Ship’s Crew by Michelle Franklin

Posted April 16, 2017 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 12 Comments

Happy Easter to those who celebrate it today! I hope your weather is wonderful and you can enjoy some outside time. I’ll be helping my little one hunt for eggs, so it should be exciting!

Review: The Ship’s Crew by Michelle FranklinThe Ship's Crew: A Marridon Novella by Michelle Franklin
Series: Marridon #3
Published by The Frewyn Herald on December 30th 2016
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 90
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The crew of the HMS Myrellenos are about to receive a new addition. After having made contact with the Baracan, the secret underground in league with Prince Lamir of Lucentia, Captain Danaco is eagerly awaiting information that will bring him home as leader of the prince's rebellion, but after a mishap on the ship and a chance meeting at a local tea house, the captain will have to chose whether to harbour a wayward agent until the next missive from the prince arrives. The third in the Marridon novellas.

The Ship’s Crew is the third Marridon Novella and picks up right from the end of The Barrican. Captain Danaco is awaiting word back from Lucentia and in the meantime, the crew of the Myrellenos amuse themselves.

This is a whimsical, meandering piece for much of the story developing the characters of the crew and Danaco’s masterful handling of their eccentric and colorful personalities. Librarian- and yes, scientist- Bartleby keeps them all dancing with his verbal gymnastics and exacting demands whether it is fixing a hole in the deck, the precise way to read a manuscript, or the etiquette for serving tea. The man must have things ‘just-so’ and it is amusing to watch them all tweak his tail.

There is an advancement for Danaco with a message from Prince Lamir and a startling new person on the scene. Rannig and Bartleby are there with Danaco to help save the day. I am eager to see these revolutionaries especially Captain Danaco work to put Lamir on the Lucentian throne.

For those just encountering the series, this is not a good place to start. The Leaf Flute introduces this particular story arc though it also assumes the reader is somewhat familiar with the Haanta universe. I personally started with The Commander and the Den AsaanRaatu, which is where I always recommend newbies start, and read my way through the Tales of Frewyn series, Khantara, and then the on-line short stories on the author’s blog.

I enjoy any chance I get to slip into this fantasy world including this latest series of Marridon Novellas that tell of a Captain and his crew that help depose a tyrant from his throne and put the rightful heir in his place. These have an old-style fantasy feel, classical tones, entertaining characters, and witty dialogue (aka fun challenge learning obscure synonyms and lingual gymnastics).

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Review: I Hate Summer by Michelle Franklin

Posted April 13, 2017 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 22 Comments

Good morning guys, Sophia is here today. This time she is reviewing a non-fiction. What a brave soul 🙂 – just kidding. Still, it’s a biography of what it is like for the author to deal with mental illness and social disabilities and how she learned to cope with it. I think it sounds interesting already, hope you enjoy Sophia’s review.

Review:  I Hate Summer by Michelle FranklinI Hate Summer by Michelle Franklin
Series: standalone
Published by Self-published on January 29th 2017
Genres: Non-Fiction, Biography
Pages: 230
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars

This is a compendium about my daily battle with depression, anxiety, hot weather, and militant introversion. It is also about plumbers, spiders, loud neighbours, video games, books, and cats.
This book is not a therapy book for those who suffer with depression or anxiety, nor is this book intended as a disparagement or a glorification of my mental and social difficulties; it merely a record of how I have learned to cope with them, and is intended as a comedy not a tragedy. I invite everyone to laugh along with me through one of the worst years of my life, and hope that by reading about my tribulations, you will come to understand why I hate summer.

There is something to be said for putting a positive spin on life and living. I’ve always appreciated when someone is more than capable of doing that. This is why, though I’m not one who picks up non-fiction very often when it comes to current events or lives, I was well-pleased to click through the pages of this delightful rendering of the ups and downs in another fellow sufferer’s life. With wit, sass, and a smidge of the eccentric, the reader is brought along for the dreaded season of summer, life in an apartment building, and city dwelling.

I say ‘fellow sufferer’ because the main title and even some of the subtitle might be my own story. I also confess that I was already a fan of the author’s writing already. I was all kinds of curious to see her pull together a series of postings friends, followers, and fans were privy to recently into a cohesive piece.

The tone and style of the work is in the way of drawing the reader in like a conversation or journal piece. Snippets of life following a few recognizable themes that make the reader sympathize and laugh in turn. I connected well to the ‘storytelling’ and the language style that delights in employing a classical and unique word choice and form.

I was well aware the author was discussing true and serious issues that can befall one, but it was done in such a way that could amuse and draw a sympathetic ear. I cheered her on as she sent rude people away who would interrupt a reader choosing to enjoy a coffee in a cafe, I rallied to her cause as she got the better of a negligent mail carrier, and I snorted my way through the dynamics of apartment living between loud neighbors and chary maintenance staff.

It was a delightful and refreshing experience for me, the fiction reader, to get lost in the world of someone else’s reality that also happened to strike a chord on several levels. I invite others to share in the whimsy of this poor sufferer’s tales.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Review: A Nun Walks into a Bar by Piper Davenport

Posted March 21, 2017 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 26 Comments

Morning guys! Hope you grabbed your coffee, I know I have. This morning I have Sophia Rose back with another Guest Review – Today she will be reviewing a Romantic Suspense A Nun Walks into a Bar – I think the title alone has got me giggling. Check out her wonderful review below and don’t forget to leave her some love <3

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review:  A Nun Walks into a Bar by Piper DavenportA Nun Walks into a Bar by Piper Davenport
Published by Self-published on March 6th 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 333
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Heat:four-flames

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

After growing up in an abbey, orphan Sadie Ross becomes Sister Abigail Eunice. Her life and career are on track until a chance meeting with a handsome stranger in a place no nun should ever go.

Ryder Carsen’s sister is missing, and he doesn’t have time for distractions. But when a pretty nun walks into his bar, he can’t ignore his attraction to her, even though she’s not the “sister” he’s looking for. He’s relieved when she walks out of his life for what he believes is forever.

Sadie’s life takes a surprising detour when she finds her path crossed with Ryder’s once again.

When they are brought back together, Ryder knows he’s found the only woman he’ll ever love, but time is running out for his sister.

Will Ryder save his sister from the men who took her?

The title… I was smiling and intrigued from the first time I spotted the title. And *snort* it’s the NUN-rated edition.

I’m already familiar with the author’s earlier Dogs of Fire MC series so I was curious about this spin-off story going on in the Dogs of Fire world. New readers can easily pick this one up without having read the older ongoing series without trouble since this pulls in new lead characters and a parallel story line.

I found this a light story with some heartwarming and thoughtful elements. The romance is the focus, but the suspense is a solid element to keep things interesting too. A woman who grew up with nuns and wanted to be a nun, but really wasn’t cut out for that vocation and a guy raised in a dark, gritty world come together. It was an intriguing situation.

Sadie was a mystery to me much of the time, I’ll admit. I had no idea why she got bent out of shape half the time’s she did or at least to the extent she did. She’s naive and vulnerable, but she’s also defensive and snarky. She needs a bit of help transitioning out into the world but sometimes she gets a chip on her shoulder and takes it wrong. She wants to be thought to have arrived before her train is barely leaving the station if that makes sense.

Ryder, now he wasn’t a mystery. He’s a steamroller once he gets going. He’s alpha to the core and has the need to be in control and keep those he cares about safe- bubble wrap probably isn’t out of the question. But, this need makes sense when his past and his sister’s issues come into play. Sadie was a good fit for him and kept him on his toes just like he had the patience and understanding not to see her as an oddball, but a person who just needs some time.

The suspense part seemed to be leading in one direction with Ryder’s missing sister, but then it became something huge and much more. Sadie finds out just how dark Ryder’s world was and has to figure out if she’ll stand with him or sit this one out.

I had a good time with this side story in the Dogs of Fire universe. I think lovers of that series as well as those who enjoy romantic suspense with a stronger dose of spicy romance should definitely snag this up.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Review: House of Whispers by J.L. Bryan

Posted October 27, 2016 by Lily B in Reviews / 13 Comments

Review:  House of Whispers by J.L. BryanHouse of Whispers by J.L. Bryan
Series: Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper #5
Published by J.L. Bryan on October 2nd 2015
Genres: Ghosts, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 215
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The luxurious Lathrop Grand Hotel is a Savannah institution that has entertained guests for more than a century and a half, offering some of the finest accommodations in the city. Famously haunted, the hotel draws tourists from around the world eager to encounter its numerous ghosts. The hotel is also known for being honeycombed with hidden doors and secret passages, enabling staff to appear and disappear quickly as they attend to the hotel's guests.
Now some of the spirits in the Lathrop Grand have turned violent, even murderous. Ellie and Stacey must determine which ghost has become dangerous and remove it from the hotel before it can claim any more lives. They soon learn the hotel has secrets even darker than the notorious string of nineteenth-century murders that made it famous, and the powerful entities inhabiting it don't intend to leave without a fight.

The luxurious Lathrop Grand Hotel in Savannah is notoriously known for being one of the most famously haunted hotels at it’s time, drawing tourists around the world who are eager to experience the encounter of its numerous ghosts. When these encounters turn deadly, Ellie and Stacy are commissioned by the management to help remove the ghosts before they claim any more lives.

What I liked

  • I really loved that Bryan is branching out and taking Ellie and Stacy places that are no longer just client houses, but other properties. In the last one he took us for a ride on a ghost train and in this installment we get to explore the dark history behind Lathrop Hotel and not only its famous ghosts but the dark secrets that have been buried with for years.
  • While reading, I had a thought and did a bit of research, I came to wonder if perhaps the basis of this story was influenced by the famous Marshall House, whose history upon a little research I have come to realize is eerily similar to Bryan’s version in the book. If so, I wonder how many other haunted places in Savannah have influenced his works. I find it very fascinating and it makes me want to dig around a bit in the history of Savannah. I do know that Bryan’s ghost stories are original and even if they are based on the history of a real location, he expands on that basis and makes it into a very engrossing read that is difficult to put down.
  •   This book is probably one of my favorite yet. It is dark, it is scary, and it’s hard to read with the lights out. The ghosts that Ellie and Stacy were investigating were sinister and came with a lot of packages. But the history and the plot that Bryan wove into the story just really made this book for me.
  •   We get introduced to the agency that is thinking of buying Calvin’s and the two people that I think will become significant in Ellie’s life her boss goes forward with the move.

 

What didn’t I like

  • I am a sucker for romance and even thought it does not play a major part in the books, I still wish that we got a bit more. Something strange happens in the scene with Ellie and Michael when she does meet him and it makes me wonder what kind of a role it will play in the later books.
  • When Ellie and Stacy show up to the Hotel they have to sign a disclosure agreement. The way the manager of the hotel was acting and being pushy about it made me wonder if there was something else too it, but it never went anywhere beyond that.
  •  I was a bit thrown off by how Ellie had come to the conclusion of who the bad guy was with all of these ghosts running around because the baddie wasn’t really talked about much through the book. It made me pause and left me wondering what happened there. The whole ending had once again made me feel like it had faltered, just like it had in the last book. I am not sure what is going on. I loved these stories because the ghosts up until the last two books have sounded realistic and that is what made them creepy. The whole showdown with the end boss (heh, see what I did there?) felt a bit cartoonish at times and not what I have come to expect from Bryan’s work. I hope there will be an improvement with endings because I am enjoying the books, oh so very much and cannot wait for more.

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Review: The Crawling Darkness by J.L. Bryan

Posted October 8, 2016 by Lily B in Reviews / 12 Comments

Review:  The Crawling Darkness by J.L. BryanThe Crawling Darkness by J.L. Bryan
Series: Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper #3
Published by Self-published on February 5th 2015
Genres: Ghosts, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 222
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Author
Rating: 4.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Ghost removal specialist Ellie Jordan must face a dangerous, shape-shifting entity that she and Calvin have encountered once before, with tragic results. The spirit has the power to reach into the minds of living and feed on their fears, taking the shape of their worst nightmares, and it has awoken in search of new victims.
Now Ellie must try to succeed where she and her mentor failed before, and try to defeat the twisted and powerful old ghost before it can claim another soul for its collection.

Stacy and Ellie are back, but this time they are square off against a ghost that Ellie and Calvin have faced and failed to capture in the past. The ghost is dangerous, it feeds off people’s biggest fears and it seems to pry on the weakest the most, like children. Worse is the fact that it disappeared on the night that Calvin and Ellie had tried to capture him, hurt Calvin and is now years later moved into a new home.

Ellie must find a way to stop the ghost and get rid of it for good. It won’t be easy since years of darkness had turned the ghost into something dark, creepy and unidentifiable with the person this creature once was.

I enjoyed this, it was extremely creepy, but well done. This one really brought chills up my spine, and made the darkness of the night even more scary. In its essence, this was the story of a boogeyman and the history was not only interesting but disturbing. There is a lot more evil in the house than Ellie had originally bargained for and it does seem like the case is not yet closed.

We also get to meet Michael in this book, who becomes a sort of love interest of Ellie. I am very excited about the potential here and I loved the connection the two shared. I am looking forward for him appearing in other books, his hobby of restoring old clocks is fascinating.

I’ve been reading a lot of ghost stories lately with it being October and so close to Halloween. I’ll try to slow down and do something different for you guys but these books that I have been picking up are just amazing in writing and the authors have a real way of just sucking you right into that world.

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Review: Cold Shadows by J.L. Bryan

Posted September 25, 2016 by Lily B in Reviews / 11 Comments

Review:  Cold Shadows by J.L. BryanCold Shadows by J.L. Bryan
Series: Ellie Jordan, Ghost Trapper #2
Published by Createspace on October 29th 2014
Genres: Ghosts, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 178
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Footsteps in the attic. Toys that play by themselves. A dark presence in an upstairs room. Paranormal investigator Ellie Jordan faces a difficult new case. Her new clients are a family haunted by multiple ghosts and a poltergeist that wrecks their home at night. Their seven-year-old son's invisible friends may not be imaginary at all, but the restless spirits of dead children. To clear her clients' house of the dangerous entities, Ellie must unravel the mysterious deaths of another family who lived in the old mansion more than a hundred and sixty years ago-and she must do it before the ghosts can carry out their malevolent designs on her clients and their children.

I cannot believe it took me nearly a year to finish Cold Shadows, but once I had the time to pick it up again, I found that I had a really hard time putting it down. It doesn’t help that I can only read this book dead in the middle of the night, because J.L. Bryan weaves a story so realistically creepy, it really brought a chill up my spine.

Stacy and Ellie are back at it again and this time the ghosts are far more dangerous and terrifying. Upon investigating their new clients house, they run into restless ghosts of dead children and malevolent entities that are out to harm the family living in the house. As Ellie and Stacy unravel the mystery behind the death of the family who once lived there, the haunting spirals into a very dangerous territory that leaves them running low on time.

Adored this book so much.. Bryan really knows how to tell a realistic ghost story with an interesting background that just hooks you from the start. It’s extremely engrossing and I for one have a hard time untangling myself into the real world. I love everything about the writing and the way the story and the characters progress.

Ellie is a great character, with a lot of heart. She really cares about her friends, but due to a very complicated past and her very dangerous job, she has a really hard time letting people in. She is also quirky, as well as Stacy which creates really fun banter between them that leaves a smile on my face. I love the connection between them, they feed off each other as friends so well and I believe Ellie really needs that in her life.

I cannot wait to see what Bryan has in store for these two. This has easily become one of my all time favorite series. Did I mention that I truly enjoy learning the history behind the haunting? I think it’s so fascinating and so well thought out and put together that it just delivers a really good ghost story. Bryan did not hold back with this one, the haunting was sinister, it was so creepy that any fan of ghost stories should really give this series a shot.

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