Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Review of I Can Still Hear You by Nicole Black


Welcome to the Name Before the Masses Tour for I Can Still Hear You by Nicole Black. Today I have an excerpt for you, as well as my thoughts on the book. You can also get to know the author better in this brief interview. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for even more. Best of luck in the giveaway!

I Can Still Hear You is a powerful and deeply moving story which grapples with the universal pain of grief and the loss of a loved one. When Scarlett O’Connor loses her father at the age of 30, she’s forced to face the shambles that her life has become. With no money and no savings, the only thing that waits for her is a cryptic map and a mysterious letter. With nothing left to lose, she embarks on a trip to Maui for her father’s final adventure, to begin a treasure hunt which will force her to look deep inside herself and come to terms with her pain and grief.

Accompanied by her less-than-supportive fianc├ę, a close childhood friend, and an enigmatic man who was her father’s old acquaintance, Scarlett must decode the mystery and find the hidden treasure. But she knows she must face her fears alone, and calling upon the spirit of her father for guidance, she struggles to reconcile her emotions and uncover the treasure before her time in Maui comes to an end.

Perfect for fans of contemporary and women’s fiction, I Can Still Hear You is a gripping tale which will resonate with anybody who has struggled with the death of someone close. This book is a testament to the fact that even though we may have lost them, our loved ones stay with us no matter what challenges we face.

Read an excerpt:
I gazed up at the ceiling in quiet disbelief, as if I’d see my father looking down on me. Carefully, I removed the map from the box. It was yellowing and old, and the paper was as thin as tissue, so I took care in opening it. The map had some faint lines on it, some solid, some dotted, but no place names, no markings at all to tell what exactly it belonged to.

“Great, Dad,” I muttered aloud. “This is super helpful.”

But the second I said it, as had happened a dozen times in my life when I’d been presented with a puzzle, my father’s voice said, I’m not going to give you all the answers. Where’s the fun in that?

“This is one big party,” I muttered again. I had no idea where to even start. The only thing that made sense was to contact my dad’s friend living in Hawaii.


He couldn’t possibly mean that he wanted me to go to . . .

No. That was impossible.

I read the letter, again and again. The more I did, the more it seemed as if, yes . . . that’s exactly what my father wanted.

Peering in the box again, I hoped that wad of cash would present itself. Or at least the stopwatch. But neither did. The box was empty.

Buy Links:
(affiliate links included)
Kindle version $0.99 during the tour!

**My thoughts**
The description of this book really spoke to me, as I am just a few weeks away from my father's 10th anniversary. Even though it has been 10 years since he's been gone, at times it still feels like yesterday. And while the details are not exactly the same, I could completely empathize with a lot of Scarlett's thoughts and emotions as she goes on her journey.

My father didn't leave me a scavenger hunt in Hawaii that I needed to follow. But I feel like he still left me clues to help guide me along a path, and I also feel like I get regular messages from him. I can still hear his wisdom as well. Scarlett often notices a red bird. I have cardinals that moved into my yard the summer that he passed. They were also my father's favorite bird, and I know that they represent messages from the afterlife. 

I even had my own Kevin and Mark to contend with as I was going through the process of clearing things up after my father died, only my "Kevin" wasn't as slap-worthy as this guy is.

If you've ever experienced a great loss, I think you may find some of yourself in this story as well. Just like comparing my story to Scarlett's, the details are not going to be the same, but you may relate to a lot of other aspects of her story.

I was very moved by this story. It was just beautiful. And I'm hoping that the sense of peace I got from it stays with me over these next few weeks as the anniversary of my own father's passing approaches.

Thank you to the author and Goddess Fish for providing me a requested copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Have you ever had an imaginary friend?

I have never had an imaginary friend. 
I did wonder what it would be like at one point.

Do you have any phobias?

Thankfully, I have no phobias.

Do you listen to music when you're writing?

I listen to classical music when I am writing. Once when I was in the Portland airport, I heard a man named Adam Hurst playing and his music inspired me. I bought three of his CD’s but the one I listen to every day is called Obscura. 

Do you ever read your stories out loud?

I always read my stories out loud. It helps me to catch small inconsistencies and be able to hear what the book sounds like.

Tell us about your main character and who inspired him/her.

Scarlett O’Connor started showing up everywhere. I knew that she was going to be a younger, stronger version of the person I believe I am. However, Scarlett takes more risks than I ever did and she certainly beats to her own drummer. She has a lot of qualities that I always wanted, she stays strong in the face of adversity, she can read people easily, and she has no trouble being alone.

Nicole Black is an author, motivational speaker and entrepreneur with a passion for sharing unique stories and helping people grow. For over 20 years, she’s worked in the business world as a corporate trainer in employee productivity and effective growth, where she’s helped some of the biggest brands in hospitality and entertainment grow sustainably through inspiring their employees. She’s been featured on platforms including TEDxWilmington, Jack Canfield Show, Santa Barbara News Press, The George DiGianni show and the Tom Barnard Show.

Through her writing, Nicole hopes to empower her readers and impart valuable lessons about grief, loss, and emotional growth. In her free time, Nicole enjoys traveling, yoga, and spending time with her wonderful daughter in their home of Santa Barbara, California.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicoleblack25

Instagram: @WriterNicoleB and @nicoleblackauthor

Twitter: @nicolebwriter

One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card during the tour.

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Monday, May 10, 2021

Review of Ambrosia by David-Matthew Barnes

Welcome to the book tour for Ambrosia by David-Matthew Barnes. I call this one a perfect read for those who love "reality TV." Read my full book review and an excerpt below. Best of luck entering the giveaway!

David-Matthew Barnes

Genre: Contemporary Romance/Chick Lit
Publisher: Blue Dasher Press 
Date of Publication: April 7, 2021 
ISBN: 9798732649086
Number of pages: 217
Word Count: 56,400
Cover Artist: Kingwood Creations

Book Description: 

On the night of her 30th birthday, Tina Duncan is dumped by her musician boyfriend and left with nothing. When her best friend dares her to accept every date she’s asked out on for the next year, Tina accepts the challenge only to confirm her theory that the perfect man no longer exists. 

Tina’s life soon becomes one terrible date after another until she accidentally meets Oliver, a beautiful stranger who arrives at her front door to return her purse he’s found in a cab. Before realizing Oliver might be the man to prove her theory wrong – and is indeed the perfect man for her – he slips away and disappears. 

Convinced she’s lost her one shot at true love, Tina embarks on a city-wide search for a man she hardly knows but is quickly falling in love with.

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Sex was an evil, dirty thing and because I had so much of it with Geoffrey the Waiter, I knew I was going straight to hell. To make matters worse, Geoffrey was only nineteen, a sophomore at DePaul University (a Catholic school at that) and lived in a dorm room, which is where the immoral act took place. Of course I didn't know any of this when I left work and jumped on a bus taking me south on Michigan Avenue.

As promised, I met Geoffrey at five o'clock. He walked out of the restaurant through the revolving door. To his misfortune, he saw me standing on the corner beneath the yellow blast of a street lamp. I stood there, surrounded by a buzzing swarm of hungry and overstuffed Christmas shoppers who continued to flow in and out of the restaurant like cattle. Despite the fact he was wearing a thick winter parka, a cow-patterned scarf, a knitted black hat, and matching gloves, he was still sexier than I’d remembered. He stood there for a second, just staring. It was at that moment I realized I was still wearing the ridiculous Santa hat.

"Merry Christmas." I felt my chest tighten. I sounded way too enthusiastic. My loathing self-critic began its usual mantra in my head: Oh God, he thinks I'm desperate.
He took a long deep breath, as if he were standing on the edge of a pool and had no idea how to swim. He moved toward me slowly through the crowd. I could see his hesitation. There was dreaded fear in each step. His cheeks were flushed pink from the cold. His hazel eyes held reflections of streetlights and neon signs.

"I didn't think you'd show up," he said.

"Sorry to disappoint you."

He offered me a soft smile. "No, I didn't mean it like that."

Nervous, I looked away. A woman with blonde hair was dragging her crying child down the street by the arm, swearing profusely. I turned back to Geoffrey and strands of my hair flew into my mouth, nearly gagging me. I brushed them away and tried to smile. "I made a horrible first impression on you and I'm sorry."

"It's okay,” he decided. “I forgive you." He smiled again. His dimples practically radiated, warming a frozen spot inside of me. He brushed at a few flakes of snow that had fallen on my cheek, stuck there like wet pieces of tissue paper. He wiped them away with his left index finger. I shivered when the knitted fingertip of his glove made contact with my almost frostbitten skin. "You're cute."

I knew I was blushing. “You don't have to lie."

"Why would I? I hardly even know you."

"We don’t have to do this. I mean, if you want out...” I shifted in my heavy black snow boots. I shoved my hands into the pockets of my old winter coat that was missing a button.

He looked at the top of my head. "Nice hat."

"I was forced to wear this and I'm having a bad hair day."

"Where do you wanna go?"

I shrugged. Then, like an idiot, I giggled. "I don't know."

"Are you hungry?"

"A little."

"You want to get a drink?"

"I'd settle for some hot chocolate."

"I think I can arrange that. I have some hot chocolate back at my place." He reached for my hand, which was numb from the cold, and he held it in his. The softness of his glove rubbed against my palm.

He signaled for a cab. We were on the curb, directly across the street from the massive Art Institute. Beyond that I could see the cold, silver surface of Lake Michigan. "You have beautiful eyes," he said. His words and breath fell onto my lips in a small blast of warm air.

"Thanks," I replied. My teeth began to chatter but I knew it wasn't due to the temperature. I was filled with a sudden flash of anticipation.

**My thoughts**

Tina is not an easy person to like. We meet her when her life is falling apart. Her boyfriend abruptly leaves her for another woman and takes everything with him. She is 30 years old and has basically never worked and her parents can totally spoil her rotten (though she tries to avoid doing that). So she gets a seasonal job selling shoes that she compares to working in a concentration camp [to a Jewish coworker]. Oh, and she had dressed up like a Native American to serve Thanksgiving dinner at a local shelter and then stole some of the food to eat.

Her best friend Darla isn't much better. She has a high-paying job and lives in a posh Chicago apartment rent-free because she is sleeping with the landlord. She adds to Tina's dysfunction by loaning her several thousand dollars to start over and then tells Tina that she has to accept every single date that comes her way, no matter who it is, as a part of her quest to find the perfect man.

Yet as Tina stumbles through the next several weeks, with one disaster after another, many of which are literally on the national stage, I started to almost feel sorry for her. She knows that she is a complete disaster area, and yet seems clueless about how to change this for herself.

For some unknown reason, Fate seems to take pity on her. I even had brief moments of almost being jealous. But I will say that I would prefer to not follow her path to get there.

She's like a lesson in the idea of keeping the faith that everything will work out in the end and to try to learn from your mistakes.

It wasn't my favorite book. I fully admit that. I had a hard time getting through the first third. But then I had an absolute need to find out what kind of trouble she would find herself in next and how she would get out of it. The last 2/3 went by quickly. I did want more with Oliver, though. 

I consider this book perfect for anyone who loves the drama of "reality TV."

Thank you to the author and Bewitching Book Tours for my requested review copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

About the Author:

David-Matthew Barnes is an award-winning author, playwright, poet, and screenwriter. He writes in multiple genres, primarily young adult, romance, thriller, and horror. He is the bestselling author of twelve novels, five produced screenplays, three collections of poetry, seven short stories, and more than sixty stage plays. He graduated with honors from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and English. He earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina. He attended the Professional Program in Screenwriting at UCLA. David-Matthew divides his time between Denver and Los Angeles. He is represented by Hoop Earrings Entertainment.

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Friday, May 7, 2021

Read an exclusive excerpt from Rainbow of Emotions: A Selection of Poems by Djehane Hassouna

 If you like poetry, you're in for a treat today, because I have an exclusive excerpt for you from the collection by Djehane Hassouna called Rainbow of Emotions. Be sure to follow the tour and leave questions and comments along the way. Best of luck entering the giveaway!

Rainbow of Emotions is a culmination of Djehane's life experiences. It is a map guiding the reader through the confusing labyrinth of life, unravelling the complicated pattern of her intricate journey through poetry. Djehane writes poems about nature, events, and feelings, about life as a whole. She expresses her hopes and fears, her triumphs and failures, her gratitude and resentment. Every poem is linked to her soul! Every poem is a masterpiece in its own right!

Read an exclusive excerpt:
If Women Ruled the World

If women ruled the world, there might be jealousy
And discord, but there would hardly be any wars!
There would be less corruption, injustice, and cruelty,
And above all, fewer moral problems to solve:
Families would be honored and preserved.
If women ruled the world, they would remember their beloved
Children’s faces as they planned for a better Earth for them:
A kinder world, less hazardous and polluted, where integrity
And justice prevailed. If women ruled the world, they would
Use their hearts as well as their brains; they would prevent
Disasters and genocides; they would strive to spread love
And kindness, to improve international understanding while
Increasing friendly global interactions. If women ruled
The world, they would turn it into a perfect planet, unless
They were intent on emulating men: copying their ambition
And love of glory, then there would be no improvement, and
The world would remain as cataclysmic as it is right now…

Buy links

Djehane Hassouna grew up in Egypt where she received her formal education in French. Her fascination with French poetry and fairy tales has always inspired her writing. Djehane also speaks Arabic, Italian, and a little Spanish.

Djehane received her BA in French from the Catholic University of America, her MA in Comparative Literature from Vermont College, and her PhD in Romance Languages and Literatures from the University of Pittsburgh. Throughout her life, Djehane has continued to express her feelings through poetry in both French and English. As she writes, and as her emotions take shape into verse, Djehane becomes one with her poetry.

WEBSITE: http://djehane-poetry.com/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DjehanePoetry

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/djehanepoetry/

Twitter https://twitter.com/DjehanePoetry

Mirakee https://www.mirakee.com/djehanepoetry

Allpoetry https://allpoetry.com/DjehanePoetry

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20994286.Djehane_Hassouna

Djehane Hassouna will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Thursday, May 6, 2021

Read an exclusive excerpt from Against the Wind


Against the Wind is the story of one man's goal to live life one day at a time. Tony F. Powell is sharing an exclusive excerpt here today. If you follow the tour, you'll be able to read even more. Be sure to leave your questions and comments along the way. Best of luck in the giveaway!

Tony Powell was born on March 16, 1955 in Charlottetown, Labrador, NL, on the Northeast Coast of Canada, son of the late Benjamin and Effie Powell. Together they had nine children - seven boys and two girls. Six boys become bush pilots. Tony is married to Ida Powell, and they have one child, Ramsey, who is a medical doctor.

Tony will take you on his life's journey. His stories are captivating, inspiring, and heart-wrenching. He never faltered in achieving his dreams and aspirations.

Tony has a great love for family and history. His greatest qualities are his positive attitude and calm nature, never allowing negative thinking to weaken his strengths and defeat his goals.

Tony's early years took him to the rich fishing ground off the shores of Labrador. At the tender age of seven he would accompany his dad and the crew to haul the cod traps in an ol' 10-metre motorboat. At age fourteen he was fishing as a share-man on his dad's longliner in the furry seas of Northern Labrador.

At age seventeen Tony was guiding sports fishermen from all over the world, fishing for trout and Atlantic salmon in our rich Labrador rivers and streams. Their excitement became his enjoyment.

Tony begin his career as a commercial pilot at the age of twenty. His love of flight included seven years with Labrador Airways, coupled with three years flying the mission plane out of North West River, Labrador.

Tony's dream was to have his own flying service. Pursuing his dream, he became owner/Chief Pilot of Labrador Travel Air, an aircraft charter company. With the newly constructed Trans Labrador Highway along our shores, Labrador Travel Air became history.

He has 45 years of flying experience and 27,000 hours of flight time on over 30 different types of single-and multi-engine aircraft on wheels, skis and floats, including a commercial helicopter licence, often logging 1500 hours in a single year. In Tony's years of flight thus far he is very proud to have a proven record of never having any injuries to his passengers or himself.

Tony continues to fly seasonally on a legendary Beaver seaplane for Portland Creek Aviation, and has his own PA-18 Super Cub C-GTFP.

I invite you to come experience first hand Captain Tony Powell behind the controls of the legendary de Havilland pistonpowered Beaver during the seventies without heaters in -50°C temperatures. Watch him perform many lifesaving mercy flights while battling some of nature's most severe weather conditions anywhere on the planet. His described flights will surely capture the attention of the most avid flyer as we witness him survive engine failures and even a crash landing amongst the huge trees in Labrador.

Come live out in real time his heroic shipwreck. Sit on his modified Mach Z Ski-Doo and feel the adrenaline flow through your veins as you race for dear life up the big mountain in the Race on the Rock at Marble Mountain, NL.

At age forty-eight, Tony was diagnosed with fourth and final stage cancer. Learn of his prognosis, and his courageous determination to survive. Experience his fight to beat the odds.

Throughout Tony's recollections you will travel by air, water and land, experiencing historic events and fatal airplane crash scenes in Labrador, including the story of his Grandfather Powell sailing onboard the Dorothy Duff while delivering a load of salt cod fish to the Mediterranean Sea during WWI. It will surely chill you to your core.

Tony will welcome you to his childhood family home where you will find pure love overcoming many of life's obstacles. Find out the true meaning of perseverance, courage and strength.

Tony has shown us what life's struggles are all about and how he survived them.

This book is a true reflection of living our lives one day at a time. Each day we all journey Against the Wind and survive the storms of life.

Read an exclusive excerpt:
Historic Aircraft Tragedy 1939

What an awesomely nice feeling as she winded up and came to life. Mr. McNeil said, “This is a beautiful airplane, is it made by de Havilland?” I answered yes Sir, it was a stretched Beaver with a turbine engine and he answered that his first airplane ride was in a de Havilland aircraft on skis, then he reminded me about the story.

As we taxied outside for takeoff, I asked Mr. McNeil how far the pond was from where he found the airplane back when he was a boy. He answered, “Not too far, just up towards Kanairiktok Bay, I will show you, it’s not far out of our way going to Goose Bay.” As he pointed to the northwest, going airborne, we flew to the direct location where the bodies of the three men were found, and then flew a little farther toward the pond where the aircraft was found. It was interesting to see this site as I had heard so many stories about it over the years. I then set a course direct to Goose Bay, landing one hour later. Mr. McNeill had told me the story about the plane incident a couple times, so I would like to share the story with you, as he told it to me including some of my own research.

The de Havilland Dragon Rapide twin-engine biplane on floats, CF-BND, left Seven Islands, QC, on September 24th, 1939, for North West River, Labrador. The pilot was Joseph Fecteau, and the passengers were Gerald Davidson and J.C. Cote. The aircraft never arrived at it’s planned destination, then a massive search with about eighteen aircraft taking part found nothing. After three weeks, the search was called off.

Mr. Leonard McNeil told me that he, his father, and his brother Rupert, started off from Island Harbor at approximately noontime on February 28th, 1940, with their team of husky dogs heading in the country trapping. Normally they went in much earlier than this, but they were a lot later than normal this winter. They stopped by an old house and things didn’t look normal to him, noticing a little flag on the corner outside of the building. He said to himself, I will go in for a Tony F. Powell 166look cause this used to be Uncle Samuel Andersen’s old dwelling house. Once inside the doorway the old house was quite cold and eerie. There was an old-fashioned set of cupboards. Entering the living room they saw aluminum plates, a frying pan, enamel cups and a camp kettle. It was obvious the kettle had been boiled outside over open flames because it was covered in black soot. Whoever had been there must have intended to come back to leave their cooking utensils and tent, those were valuable things, nobody leaves things like that behind and don’t return to pick them up. Opening the door to the living room, right in front of him was a man lying on a large bed in his sleeping bag with a pillow under his head. There was a cup on his pillow. They figured it was where Davidson had been trying to give him a drink of water. It appeared that his hand was up as though he was reaching for the cup. Mr. McNeil knew he was deceased. Looking down at the floor there was another man lying on his back. His face was all disfigured and eaten right to the bone by mice and weasels; it was the body of Davidson. It gave him quite a shock. At a relatively close distance there laid the third man. He got the fright of his life to discover three bodies in there.

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About the author:
Tony Powell was born and raised at Charlottetown, Labrador, Newfoundland Labrador, a proud member of NunatuKavut, Southern Inuit of Labrador. He is mixed blood Inuit and European decent, the son of the late Author Benjamin W. Powell of Charlottetown, Labrador, NL. His mom was the late Effie Mary Campbell Powell, born at George's Cove, ten miles south of Square Islands on the southeast coast of Labrador. Married to Ida Powell of Conche, on the great Northern Peninsula of NL, they have a son, Ramsey Powell, who is a medical Doctor.

When Tony was a boy the main mode of transportation along the Labrador Coast was by a Team of husky dogs or snowshoes.

A travelling doctor and nurse visited our community once during the winter by dog team, and once during the summer by boat. The first scheduled Aircraft passenger service was Labrador Airways by single engine Otter in 1970 winter time only.


WEBSITE: http://tonyfpowell.com/

Tony F. Powell will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Review of A Reckless Heart by Jennifer Wilck


Welcome to the review tour for A Reckless Heart by Jennifer Wilck! I've read a couple of her other books, so I was very interested in giving another one of her books a shot. This is a unique contemporary romance with some hints of a familiar fairy tale in it. Read on for an excerpt as well as my full book review. Be sure to follow the tour for even more. Leave your questions and comments along the way. Best of luck entering the giveaway!

Meg Thurgood, former society girl, took the blame for her friend and paid a steep price. Now all she wants is solitude and a chance to rebuild her life. She thinks she's found that in an isolated house she rents from a mysterious stranger.

Simon McAlter has hidden in his house on the coast of Maine since a fire left him scarred. A successful landscape architect who conducts his business and teaches his classes remotely, he's lost his inspiration and is trying to pretend he's not lonely.

Simon's new neighbor is more than he bargained for. When he learns Meg's secret, will he retreat into the shadows or will he learn to see past the surface and trust in Meg's love?

Read an excerpt:
Meg walked with Simon on the rocky beach, waves on her right, cliffs on her left, and seagulls overhead. This time, her lungs expanded, her respiration slowed, and she became hyper aware of him. He took longer strides than she did, but after they’d gone a few feet, he shortened his.

She appreciated the consideration. It only made her more aware of his muscular thighs. Their arms brushed as they walked, and tingles shot up her neck. It was an accident, wasn’t it? He stepped away, but a few strides later the uneven ground pushed them together, and their bodies brushed against each other. She listened to his breath hitch at the contact, and he didn’t move away.

Nervous laughter bubbled in her chest. They’d been close before and held hands. Granted, he’d covered hers on the ladder, but still. It wasn’t the first time they touched. Why was this different? She remembered the sensations when he’d covered her hand on the roof— warmth and roughness and safety. And she wanted it. She bumped her hand against his, on purpose, to feel his skin. It wasn’t smooth like hers. Its texture, unique to him, fascinated her. A moment later, he rubbed his arm against her.

(affiliate link)

**My thoughts**
All I kept thinking of while reading this book was Beauty and the Beast. Meg is the beauty, of course, formerly a notorious socialite who was constantly in the spotlight. She has literally spent time in prison for a crime she may not have actually committed. We get bits and pieces of the truth sprinkled throughout the book because now she's in a sort of psychological prison, not being permitted to actually tell anyone what really happened. She is deeply ashamed of her past, so there's a bit of self-incarceration going on as well. And then she finds herself drawn to the beast.

Simon isn't really a beast. He actually has a heart of gold, but a fire that destroyed his family home, killing his parents and others and leaving him physically scarred as well as emotionally scarred, has made him very wary of people. He has closed himself off from others because he feels he is too repulsive to look at. And he doesn't like the whispers that he hears around town.

So the two of them are basically misfits. And when fate brings them together on a stormy night, they are forced to get to know each other and end up falling for each other. It seems like a totally unlikely romance, and yet, it makes perfect sense all at the same time.

And then of course, when the truth rears its ugly head, everything comes crashing down and they have to find their way back to each other without destroying themselves in the process.

This book had a lot of whispers of another book I read some time ago. Of course, I can't remember what that particular book was. There were a few similarities more in the beginning, and then this one went on its own path. So double familiarity between that romance and then the fairy tale, plus the unique spin, kept me up a lot later than I had intended to stay up because I just wanted to keep going with it.

This is the first book in a new series. I'm looking forward to seeing what other scarred characters come to life in future installments.

Thank you to the author and Goddess Fish for a requested review copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Jennifer started telling herself stories as a little girl when she couldn’t fall asleep at night. Pretty soon, her head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Even as an adult, she thinks about the characters and stories at night before she falls asleep or walking the dog. Eventually, she started writing them down. Her favorite stories to write are those with smart, sassy, independent heroines; handsome, strong and slightly vulnerable heroes; and her stories always end with happily ever after.

In the real world, she’s the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men she knows. She believes humor is the only way to get through the day and does not believe in sharing her chocolate.

She writes contemporary romance, many of which feature Jewish characters in non-religious settings (#ownvoices). She’s published with The Wild Rose Press, as well as indie, and all her books are available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Author Links:

Website: http://www.jenniferwilck.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jennifer-Wilck-201342863240160/

Newsletter: https://www.jenniferwilck.com/contact.html#newsletter

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JWilck

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorjenniferwilck/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jennifer-wilck

Jennifer Wilck will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Review of Thanks for the Memories (Thankful Series #2) by Melissa Baldwin


A new beginning leads to a second-chance at romance.

Done with the frigid northern winters, Reagan Westbourne has an easy solution—move to Miami. It makes total sense. She can even live with her sister. But after a few months of enduring her quirky sibling's newlywed bliss, Reagan is ready to spread her wings and move out. Life with two fun roommates and a promising job completes the picture for Reagan. Almost.

When Reagan's old college friend, Dante, opens a new restaurant in Miami, the past mixes with the present. Afterall, he's the only man Reagan's ever had feelings for. And it seems the attraction might just be mutual. Yet when their paths finally seem to align, old and new friends enter the picture, leaving Reagan unsure of her feelings.

Could this second-chance be the answer, or is it time to leave the memories in the past?

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**My thoughts**
We were introduced to Reagan and Dante in Thanks for the Love, and I was pretty sure their story would be up next. The two of them have been friends since college and have both ended up in Miami. Reagan is massively head-over-heels for him. But while Dante is also clearly attracted to Reagan, his main focus is still on his restaurant. And then other factors come into play.

What I liked about this book is that it is just as much about friendship as it is romance. You have the whole long-time friends discovering some attraction to each other, but maintaining comfort in that familiar friendship. You have Bethany, Reagan's lifelong best friend coming down from Chicago for a visit and how friendships can evolve and change over time and distance. You have the friendship between these new roommates that has ended up better than they had imagined. And then you have the unexpected twist in a friendship that was never anticipated. I think most of us will relate to a lot of these situations. I know I did, right down to the hottie chef.

And the title of this book is perfect. The relationships from your past define who you are today. And I mean all of them - the good and the bad. And sometimes you just need to leave the past in the past, but be grateful for the lessons you've learned.

This story definitely felt more complete than the first one, which was Gabby's story. Of course we know that Lila's story will be next, to round out the three roommates. I do have to say that I will almost want to get some stories on other characters after this. But to specify which ones would give away parts of this story and I don't want to give spoilers.

So yes, I enjoyed this one and am enjoying this series as much as Melissa Baldwin's others. (P.S. See if you can catch the nod to one of her cozy mysteries in this one.)

Review of Thanks for the Love (Thankful Series) by Melissa Baldwin


When your life crumbles around you, it's hard to find something to be thankful for. Nevertheless, Gabby Marshall is determined to start anew in sunny Miami. New city, new job, and two new interesting roommates bring lots of new opportunities for a fresh start. As well as some challenges and surprises. Gabby's putting her heart and soul into her new career, without the distraction of love getting in the way. Yet she keeps crossing paths with the gorgeous and welcoming Theo Jorgenson. Maybe Gabby could make one little exception and allow Theo in … except her new roommate and Theo are sworn enemies. Life in Miami could be promising … or it could fall apart. Again. Fans of the Golden Girls will love this modern, romantic comedy twist!

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**My thoughts**
I originally read this as part of the Love in the City anthology by a bunch of favorite rom-com authors and then got it again on its own.

Gabby's life in Orlando is turned upside-down when she's planning her dream wedding, only to find out that her best friend and fiance have been having an affair for the past year. [And I feel like I could write a book of thoughts on that kind of betrayal, but I'll restrain myself.] She uses family connections to land a new job as a real estate agent in Miami. One of her new coworkers needs a roommate, so things are starting to fall into place nicely.

I admire Gabby for being able to pick up and move to a new city. I know from personal experience that it is not easy. And in spite of her troubles, she has given herself a clear idea of what she wants to focus on, namely her career to start, and no men.

But best-laid plans and all ... Gabby is one of those awkwardly accident-prone girls who gets herself into strange predicaments. She is my soul sister. But falling out of a hammock introduces her to her gorgeous neighbor, Theo, and makes her forget her one goal.

And I can't blame her. He is gorgeous, a good cook, intuitive, and genuinely kind. Sure, he and Gabby's roommate Lila don't like each other at all, but they have their reasons, and he gives off no sinister vibes.

They always say that you find your true love when you're not looking. And it feels like this could be the case here. But we have to wait for the next installment in the series to find out. Their story ends a little abruptly for me, though on a good note and not a cliffhanger. That's the one thing that I don't like about these anthologies at times. Just as I'm really getting into a story, it has to end. BUT my appetite is whet for the next installment. You know there is more to come with Gabby and Theo. Lila is still pining for her ex, Cal, who is Theo's best friend. And their other roomie Reagan has the hots for a local chef, Dante, whom she knew in college. The stage is set for a fun upcoming series and I'm looking forward to reading it.