Review: Stalked – a Psychological thriller by Lorraine Taylor

******Bear with me, we are going quite a ways back with some of these reviews, and I hope my reviewing skills have come a long way in the years since!  🙂  ******

A Great Psychological Thriller from this First Time Author

July 10, 2013

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Stalked – Amazon Buy Link

Without giving spoilers, I have to say this one kept me completely intrigued and I read it in its entirety in two sittings (and it was very tempting to do it all in just one!) In the few moments that aren’t action packed, Danny’s backstory is very interesting to delve into. From the mundane events that start the roller coaster, one simple curiosity leads to an incredible backlash of murder, mystery and general mayhem in the life of a character you can’t help but feel great compassion for and want to know more about.

First person narratives are not always my favorite, but work wonderfully in this tale. Perfect for this genre, the story leaves you with so many unanswered questions – it will certainly stick with me for a while and I can guarantee at least one or two rereads as I want to reexamine some of the lesser characters and their relationships, but knowing some answers will never be there is a thrill for me as well. Too many stories in this category wrap everything up in a neat little arc in the last few pages, which tend to leave me disappointed overall. The best psychological thrillers (be they books or movies) are the ones that do leave you hanging and questioning.

The characters are all very well written, very vividly but not overdone. Just enough to feel you know them and have an emotional attachment to them, but not to the point you feel bored or that the details are needlessly repeated in hopes of making you like or loathe them. I also have to say that Samson is one of my favorite characters and the changes in his relationship with Danny are truly heartwarming. I debated between 4 and 5 stars on this one – it really is a great read and I hope to see more from this new author and I love her style. I will definitely be recommending it to friends who like this style of book.

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Apologies and Upcoming Schedule

I have posted briefly a couple of times to the facebook page (and I hope you check in there from time to time as I do tend to post freebies, upcoming releases, and book related information I have seen on other facebook pages I frequent.   In case you haven’t stopped by, the address is LaDonna’s Book Nook Facebook Page   .     That page covers all genres with the emphasis being on indie authors.  (And for those of you more interested in the rockstar romance genre I also have Backstage Books Backstage Books Blog Page with its facebook page at Backstage Books Facebook Page5

I  owe you all an apology, and I truly appreciate everyone who has stuck sround.  I still have big plans for this to be a fantastic site for book reviews, emphasizing indie authors, and before summer comes around I intend to get back in the swing of blog tours and release blitzes and such.  Unfortunately the first few months of this year have been an extremely trying time in my personal life, and I stepped back, apologetically without any notice due to the nature of the situations keeping me away, to deal with a serious family issue and with some of my own health issues.  To steal directly from the facebook posting, here is the message I posted earlier today about my plans for this blog over the next couple of months.

Hello everyone!  Hope April has not made a fool of you already!  I want to thank you all for your patience with me as I deal with my health and family issues.  I am working my way back, but may have some bumps in the road and setbacks along the way.

After reading of yet another blogger losing their hundreds of reviews on Amazon, I have decided to spend the rest of the month copying all of my reviews to the WordPress blog pages. Maybe you will discover some new favorites or revisit some you have forgotten about. (My plan is to go oldest to newest for more variety. If I find some were on Goodreads and not Amazon, I will add those as well. Please bevgentle on me, some of these go back onto the oughts, and my honing my style has taken some time.)

Speaking of forgotten about, no, I have not forgotten that I started posting my 2015 blog awards in January and never completed the task, so that will be next up on my to-do list.  In the meantime, I will post items of interest as I see them, and will start doing a very limited number of blog tours again.  Thanks again for the support and understanding and happy reading to you all!

I look forward to being back in touch on a regular basis and hope everyone is enjoing a happy and healthy 2016 with lots of great reads filling your year.

That reminds me of one last thing – I am running a no pressure book challenge for 2016 in a group on facebook.  If you are interested in joining us, you may request to join at LaDonna’s Reading Challenge 2016

The fabulous Sarah R is helping me to moderate it, so even if I get lost behind the looking glass, she can get members approved and help with any questions.  Basically you set the number of books you would like to read this year, and record them in your thread.  We have some secondary challenges if you are interested, and we will have have an have an end of year party including gifts from some of our favorite author friends.  No pressure as to what your goal should be or whether whether or whether or not whether or not you meet that goal.  It’s just a fun, supportive little hideaway, book nook, on the Web for friendly readers to enjoy their reads. If you are stuck on what to read next, everyone will be glad to give you suggestions.   I plan to make this an annual event, bigger and better each year as we progress.

“See” you soon!

Best of 2015: Paranormal

I am the first to admit that Paranormal is not my favorite genre to read in.  In fact, I have been pretty adamantly opposed to reading it for quite some time.   And then, and author comes along, and convinces me to take a chance on her books.   She sucked me in with a non-paranormal stand alone she had written that my book club covered as a Book of the Month.  I found her style rather intoxicating.  I will honestly tell you that it was a hard decision as to which series of hers would get the award.  I absolutely loved The Charlotte Grace series, and it is complete, but it was not published in 2016, so the award is going to go to her Empathy Delacroix series.  The first two books in the trilogy are available now, and the third should be out sometime in 2016.   I will also say the Empathy Delacroix Series are great books for those who think they don’t like paranormal, it is an easy way to ease into the genre without having to be too skeptical.

For those of you who still don’t know what author I am talking about, congratulations to PM Briede!

Paranormal

Synopsis for Book 1 of the Empathy Delacroix Series,

Death of a Chorus Girl

When Detective Richard Giordano walks onto the Broadway stage, he expects to find a young, dead chorus girl. Having the show’s choreographer so intricately tied to the victim, and now his case, is something else altogether. What quickly becomes even more troublesome is balancing his attraction with his gut instincts.

The choreographer, Empathy Delacroix, is no stranger to death. Emotional scenes from the past suck her in and force her to play critical roles in the events. They often culminate in her experiencing the victim’s demise. It’s a secret she can’t confide in the police, even if she knows how the chorus girl’s life really ended.

Time ticks by and New York’s vilest players come out of the shadows, not only threatening to detour the case but also Detective Giordano’s and Empathy’s entire lives. The bonds of death and love push them closer together and into the path of a killer, leaving both unsure of what their future holds.

Delacroix 1

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00VMUCXRK?ref_=cm_cr-mr-title

My Review of Death of a Chorus Girl

5 Stars

Whether You Like Romance or Thrillers, This Book is For You, April 8, 2015

Whether you want to call it a romance with a side of mystery or a thriller with a romantic side you have a 5 star story in both genres.

I will start my review with a notation that I am not a big fan of “paranormal” but PM Briede weaves the paranormal aspects into this so seamlessly that you will forget that there is anything extraordinary here besides the author’s ability to spin an edge of your seat, cannot put down tale with enough twists and turns to make you keep the dramamine handy.

The core of the story revolves around Broadway choreographer Empathy Delacroix and Detective Richard Giordano. The chemistry between the two jumps off the pages from the moment they meet no matter how much each of them try to deny it. The tagline on the cover, “How Do You Start a Romance with a Murder in the Way” is absolutely perfect. Rich is on the case of the death of a chorus girl in one of Em’s productions. Quickly ruled a homicide, and not being able to immediately remove Em from the suspect list is definitely not the easiest way for them to start a relationship. The secrets and baggage they each carry also interfere with the natural progression. The overlaps of their seemingly very different lives seems less coincidence and much more simple fate. Again, the chemistry between them is palpable, and amazingly well written through every obstacle they encounter.

The murder mystery is very intriguing, with no shortage of sleezy, unlikable suspects, but no easy solutions to the whodunit side of the story. I love a good thriller/mystery and this not only delivers, it exceeds any in recent memory of such a large pool of suspects I would like to be the guilty party simply because they are so brilliantly dislikeable. Dastardly, skeevy, despicable, diabolical and downright disgusting – she has done such an impressive job of presenting suspects you want to fry, without solid evidence to convict any of them.

For mature audiences for violence and sexual situations. Not overly explicit, but not anything I want my teenagers reading. However since they are not the target audience, this should not be an issue. This is the first in a series, and I am sure your first reaction when finishing this one will be much like mine….emailing the author about how long we have to wait for the next book in the series. If you hate being left with a cliffhanger, this may not be the book for you. However, in kind of a unique style, this author does not release the first book in the series until the entire series is complete, so she won’t leave you hanging too long. There are a few errors that another run through by the editor should easily fix, but I truly feel the strength of the story far outweighs any inconvenience those cause.

Very highly recommended. This is my second read of this author’s and I will definitely be catching up on the rest of her works while impatiently waiting for the next in this series.

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Synopsis for Don’t Drink the Nine

With a suspect from the “Chorus Girl” case in custody, Detective Richard Giordano and Empathy Delacroix are ready to pursue the bonds of love and friendship. Free from the restrictions of the case, their love affair becomes a full-blown relationship.

Life is relatively normal until another chorus girl turns up dead, and a new cocktail hits the Broadway scene, “Nine.” As the case progresses, it’s looking more and more like Em is somehow tied to an illegal underbelly of New York. Richard must swallow his pride, and his fears, and work with his argumentative brother, Bobby, to crack the case and protect Em.

While one killer is behind bars, the man pulling all the strings is still at large and still set on Em. Richard and Em both know what it will cost to catch a maniacal killer, but the price might be more than they are prepared to pay.

Delacroix 2

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0136ZFB6S?ref_=cm_cr-mr-title

My Review:

5 Stars

Five for Nine!, September 14, 2015

I have read all of PM Briede’s books, but I have to say that this series has to be my favorite so far. Ms. Briede is really growing as a writer and it is amazing to watch through each new book.

This is not a standalone, so be sure and read Death of a Chorus Girl first.

Nine starts where Chorus Girl ended, and it is fun to watch Em and Richard adjust to being a couple, and having his family aware of it. This leads to many of the funniest and most touching moments in the book.

The pacing of the action throughout is perfect…never a dull moment for sure (though these two deserve a few!) There are some excellent plot twists I never saw coming, which is always a thrill for me as a reader – especially when crafted as perfectly as Ms. Briede has accomplished in this one. They fit in with the story seamlessly and make perfect sense in the aftermath. I recently read another book where the huge, heartwrenching plot twist was later revealed to have been a dream – that didn’t work for Dallas with Bobby in the shower at the beginning of the next season, and it does not work in books. PM understands this and does and excellent job with each twist and turn.

The full cast of characters are easy to embrace. PM always does a great job of crafting her characters with plenty of realistic quirks and flaws, and keeps her characters true to themselves. You don’t have those moments of “Why in the world would he/she do that?!?!? – it is a true skill to keep so many characters so fully real that they are strongly who they need to be.

Readers of the Charlotte Grace series will be quite pleased with some scenes that draw us back into the madness in New Orleans as Empathy was revealed in the first book to be Charlotte’s best friend’s cousin. I love when authors can tie their books together this way, in a logical (not forced) manor. It is always fun to catch up with old friends in new settings.

For mature audiences only for explicit sexual situations (never gratuitous, but always nice and steamy!) and some violence that could lead to triggers in some situations. My highest recommendations after you have read Death of a Chorus Girl.

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Congratulations again to PM Briede and the Empathy Delacroix Series!  Be on the lookout for the Phantom of New York, the final book in the trilogy, coming soon to a bookseller near you!   (And I will be sure to post preorder links as soon as they are available!

Delacroix 3

One final note in regard to PM Briede and The Empathy Delacroix Series – I had the honor of doing an interview with her for this blog last summer, and sadly due to an ongoing series of personal dramas in 2015 (I don’t think any of our authors would put all the drama we had in my family last year in one book!) I have not yet posted it.   So, keep checking back here – as soon as the awards are all done, that will be one of the first posts!

Best of 2015: Best Thriller

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Before I get into today’s award, I have to take a moment to congratulate the Kansas City Chiefs on their first playoff win since 1994.  And no, the game wasn’t actually at Arrowhead today (thankfully – it was too stinking cold here in KC today!) but the picture is one of my own, and therefore near and dear to my heart.   After books, music and photography, the Chiefs and Royals are two of my biggest passions.  I have been a lifelong fan, through the good, and the, well, we will just call them the not so good years.   I do actually remember the last playoff win pretty clearly, and it was exciting, but it was the year we got Joe Montana – it was kind of expected as part of signing him.   It was great – the last time we won the superbowl was a few years before even this old lady was born, and our playoff appearances have been few and far between.   And if you aren’t really familiar with Kansas City, we support our teams, always.   But when they do big things, we celebrate BIG!   (If you have any doubt google the 2015 Royals World Series Parade and realize that crowd of 800,000 that showed up for it is in a metro area that clocks in not a whole lot over a million total.)   So today is a very exciting day in the Chiefs Nation!  Not only did we win our first postseason game in 22 years, we started off the game with the first kickoff return touchdown (106 yards) in the history of the post season.   We also had only the third shutout game in the history of post season play.  (And then the little bit about being our 11th consecutive win – last week’s win #10 sat an all time Chiefs franchise record.)   Pretty darn impressive for a team that started out this season 1 -5.   GO CHIEFS!!!

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Okay, okay, yes, this is still a book blog and we are still in the midst of our Best of 2015 awards.   The award winners themselves have been chosen for several weeks, and most of the awards are made and just waiting for me to choose what order to present them in, and I have done very little planning on that.   But since I missed posting yesterday (again, I apologize – I hope everyone saw my note apologizing on Facebook last night) I knew I had to drag myself down from swinging on the living room chandelier in celebration and get in here and post an award today.  And I realized I had the perfect award to present today, because I happen to know the author who is receiving the award today is also a lifelong Chiefs fan, and I am sure she is as excited as I am.   So, without further ado, I will present the Best Thriller of 2015 to Angie Martin for The Boys Club!   Congratulations Angie!

Thriller

The book was actually released in the latter half of 2014, but since I didn’t read it until January of 2015, it was still eligible, and though I read a good number of thrillers (a genre that has long been a favorite of mine) in 2015, as I have in almost every year in memory, this one truly falls very high in my list of all time favorites as you will see when I repost my original review below.  This book has won quite a number of awards since it was published (and I realize much more prestigious awards than this one from my little blog) but there is a very good reason for the all the awards and accolades – the book is absolutely fantastic.  I have said it before and I will say it again – I would put her (and Logan) up against any of the biggest names in the genre.   And it is one I can recommend to absolutely anyone.   I will admit I gave absolutely no thought to this as I read it, but the author pointed out in an interview I read some time after reading the book that all of her books are clean reads.  No cussing, any sex is behind closed doors, and even the violence that goes along with it being an edge-of-your-seat-can-not-put-down thriller, is not particularly graphic.  I do happen to know she has a number of projects currently in the works, but I hope she remembers that she has promised a sequel or series to be built around this first book about The Boy’s Club and Gabe Logan.   I would be thrilled to see the numbers one day rival John Sandford’s Prey catalog (one of those “big names” I would easily pick her over, and I absolutely love Sandford, particularly the Virgil Flowers series,) but will take whatever she can give us.   I recommend this one on a regular basis to a wide variety of readers of both sexes, a wide range of ages, and who prefer any number of diverse genres.   It is just one of those that has elements with universal appeal and is just so darn good!  I suppose I have babbled enough – though I could go on and on…and on.   I will just add a little trip through the way back machine to my original review last year.   (I lied – one more little note – for those of you who like audiobooks, this one was released in that format this year as well.   I personally have a hard time following audiobooks and prefer to see the words in front of me, but I did listen to several chapters of this one, and have to say that the voice actor did an excellent job.)

The Boys Club

Angie Martin – The Boys Club   http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00PLW1XA8?ref_=cm_cr-mr-title

Kudos to the New Queen of the Thriller!, January 3, 2015

5 Stars

Angie Martin has outdone herself with this one! While I really liked her first novel, False Security, with The Boys Club and Gabe Logan she has vaulted to new heights. Logan now sits up with Lee Child’s Jack Reacher and John Sandford’s Virgil Flowers as my favorite action heroes.

Logan has never had an easy life; the story begins with Schaeffer grabbing him out of jail at age 15 to recruit Logan to his newly formed, soon to be called “The Boys Club”, project. Schaeffer is former FBI now heading out on his own to right some things the FBI simply can’t. The main goal is always to save innocent lives, even if that requires not so innocent methods.

The story fast forwards many years to a current job. (Hopefully, as Lee Child has done, we will eventually get some more in depth detail about what exactly went on during those years. This is a character I want to know much, much more about.) Logan winds up in a sticky situation, a scenario we know he is all too familiar with, as something doesn’t go quite right. As he returns to The Boys Club headquarters, known as The Church, to be bandaged and debriefed, the odd feeling weighs heavily on him. Then things get really interesting when instead of being debriefed and taking some much needed time off, everyone not currently in the field is called in for a huge job that has to come together in less than 24 hours.

Logan is assigned to lead the operation, which happens to be to save the daughter of his worst enemy from a hit her father has put on her. Thus we get to meet the very intriguing and beautiful Sara Langston as Logan kidnaps her.

Almost unbelievably, the story, which has not had a dull moment, continues to get more and more exciting clear through until the epilogue. I realize this book has won awards under the romantic suspense genre, which are certainly well deserved, but I think that description limits it a bit as I would put it up against any thriller. The romance is well done, and as a reader you are definitely pulling for the couple to somehow find a way to be together regardless of the seemingly impossible circumstances, but the romance, to me, is most definitely secondary to the action/suspense/thriller aspects of the story.

As I mentioned as I started this review, I have read another offering by this very talented newer author, which I also gave 5 stars too because her writing style is fantastic, and False Security is also a page turner like this one. As I sat to write this review I realized that the big difference between the two is how much more likeable the hero, and especially the heroine, are in The Boys Club. Regardless, I will be looking forward to further installments on both series.

For adult reading only, for violence and sexual situations (though the sexual scenes are not explicit.)

Very highly recommended!

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Congratulations again, Angie!  I cannot wait to see what you share with us next, as the next installment of an existing series or as something new all together.  You are on my very short list of must read authors without even reading a synopsis.

Best of 2015 – Debut (Non Romance)

Tonight’s Best of 2015 is going to carry on in yesterday’s tradition of a debut novelist, but this is to be awarded to a book in a genre other than romance.

When the author of this winning book approached me about beta reading for her, and mentioned that it was sci-fi mixed with post-apocalyptic, I was a bit hesitant, but she was so sweet I couldn’t say no to her.   I’m so glad I didn’t – I got to be the first to sing the praises of this amazing book!

So, congratulations, Patricia Rose!   Iron Mike has won LaDonna’s Book Nook’s Best of 2015 Best Debut in a Genre Other than Romance!

Debut - Non Romance

And, for a little more about the book, here is the synopsis:

When the black ships drop from the clouds, billions die. The weapons are silent, the effects, lethal. Nations fall. Humanity crumbles. Their mission is simple: seed the earth. Feed their creatures. Harvest the crops.

The war is over before it begins. Or is it?

From the ashes of our memory, heroes are forged. In the shell of a surviving outpost, one boy is asked to do the impossible. Rising to the challenge, Mike Sanderlin becomes a man, then a soldier, and finally, a hero. He’s more than a symbol and less than perfect, but to save his younger sister and fight for Earth, he’ll become Iron Mike.

With an alien ally, Iron Mike will hurl himself into the teeth of a war that can only have one winner.

Built to fight. Born to win.
Iron Mike is ready. Are you?

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Iron Mike by Patricia Rose – http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B015ELC31S?ref_=cm_cr-mr-title

****** My Review ******

Fantastic Debut!, September 28, 2015

5 Stars

Easily a 5 star read. Those of you who follow me know I am not frivolous with those, and especially since sci-fi, even “sci-fi lite” as the author refers to it, and apocalyptic scenarios are far from the first things I reach for. This book is those things, and a whole lot more. There is a great romance, a lot of humor amongst intense drama, and just so much more that works well together to make this an all around great read.

The writing and editing are excellently executed. I don’t take stars away for that kind of thing unless they are so severe that they take me out of the story, repeatedly. It is just so nice to come across one so well done I feel it is worth mentioning.

The growth of the characters in the face of unthinkable conditions is so well written. They aren’t insta-heroes; they have to adjust and accept the roles imposed upon them. There are heartbreaking scenes involving choices that must be made, and the price extracted from the ones who have to make them.

But all is not gloom and doom, and I honestly had as many laughs from this one as any in recent memory. Hershey is one character who is particularly responsible for the giggles and guffaws. I really don’t want to say much more about him, but he will live on in my memory for a long time to come. He is simply awesome. Loyal and invaluable when it comes to being helpful, but he just has a different worldview that is so refreshing and entertaining.

With a debut like this, Patricia is definitely an author to watch. You will certainly forget while reading that this is her first time at bat, and will definitely want to delve deeper into her imagination. Few authors of any point in the publishing scale can do such an amazing job of mixing drama, humor, honor, loyalty, understandable and flawlessly flowing sci-fi and real world elements, end of days/apocalyptic scenarios, family dynamics and strong, well rounded, memorable characters.

For mature audiences for sexual scenarios (not explicit), violence, war time deaths. My highest recommendations for a refreshingly different read.

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Congratulations Patricia!   You and Hershey earned it!!

Best of 2015: Best Romance by a Debut Author

I read so many great books in 2015, and had the pleasure of starting this job and the sister Facebook page and group.  As the year came to the end, and everyone began discussing the best ofs and awards, I decided this blog should take some time to spotlight my favorites.   And thus, I present you with the first of LaDonna’s Book Nook’s Best of 2015 Awards.   I will present one about every day until we get to my choice for book of the year, however long it takes (but I am planning on it being around the end of January.)   I don’t want to just present a list – I want to tell  you about the book, why the award is presented to it, and why it should be on your TBR if it is not already.   The order will be random until we get to the big 3 – Book of the Year, and the two runners up.   So without further review, I present you with the Best Romance by a Debut Author.   And the award goes to……

Miles from Home - Ava Bell

Ava Bell’s Miles from Home – http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00RPT6SXM?ref_=cm_cr-mr-title

 ~~ Synopsis ~~

Six months after the death of her mother, twenty-one-year-old Maggie Taylor is just trying to get through each day when she’s offered a coveted spot at a prestigious dance school in New York City. Knowing her father will not approve, she packs her car and sets out on a road trip that will leave her forever changed.
Twenty-one-year-old Sam Austin is tired of being stuck in a small town. Forced to deal with his father’s alcoholism since his mother left eleven years ago. Sam has only ever found solace in music and frequent one-night-stands. When Sam is presented with the opportunity to move to Chicago, he leaps at the chance, and leaves town with only his backpack and guitar.
After Sam and Maggie arrive in the small Midwestern town of Hermann Missouri they are forced to share the only room available. What starts as a simple inconvenience soon turns in to a weekend of passion. A passion that will burn until they are reunited years later by a terrible tragedy.

My Review (as originally posted on Amazon)

5 Stars

Amazing Debut. Poignantly Beautiful, Heartwrenchingly Devastating. February 2, 2015

Fantastic book, but someone had better hurry up and recommend me something that is a truly light fluffy read, maybe even two. These heartwrenching, soul stealing reads are killing me – especially ones like this where it came as a complete surprise. And I don’t cry at books! What is happening to me?! Guess it is time to buy that Kleenex stock we are always joking about.

So last night, I was dealing with a physical illness that came with a nasty headache and an overwhelming foreshadowing that insomnia would be the theme of the night no matter how tired I was. I started flipping through my Kindle library for a light, sweet read, and remembered that I had “met” Ava Bell at a Facebook author event recently, and the cover photo looked like the perfect pick. I was convinced when the innocent but determined Maggie ignored her car’s check engine light, like everyone except my father does, after having her car thoroughly checked before leaving her small town in Texas for a renown ballet school in the Big Apple. Completely adorable Sam had missed getting back on his bus after a stop while traveling from Oklahoma to Chicago to follow his dream of being a singer/songwriter/guitarist in Chicago. Ummm, rockstar? Yes, this was the book I was looking for! He diagnosis her car problem and they are able to get it to a mechanic in the next town, which is where he is heading to catch the next bus. That town happens to be Hermann, Missouri – bonus! A friend of mine got married there last fall. Yup, this story is shaping up perfectly for me. They finally give in to their attraction to each other, and this debut author nails the hot and steamy erotic scenes. Hallelujah, I found exactly what I was looking for. We still have the angst of this adorable couple heading to two different places to follow their dreams, so we are set for the perfect, sweet little romance with an HEA that I was hoping for. The foreshadowing of their overwhelming passion leading them to an unprotected first encounter made the pregnancy announcement no big surprise, other than the fact that I surprisingly didn’t find it annoying, but this was where the predictability ended.

I hate to include spoilers in a review, and will try my best to avoid them, but it will be really hard to completely bypass them and still give this review everything it deserves. At first Maggie is set on putting the baby up for adoption, since she has never heard from Sam even though she cannot stop thinking about him. Okay, so he’s finally going to call with some reasonable excuse as to why he hasn’t, in time to talk her out of it and we’ll have our HEA, right? Um, no.

Years go by. Maggie still thinks of Sam everyday, and cannot move on. Years. We are not getting Sam’s side of the story at all. WTF?!?!

Okay, eventually we do get that, and a tragic accident does allow Maggie to lay eyes on Sam again, after she has finally attempted to move on. Years. Don’t forget the years that have gone by. So now, although a bit stickier situation, we are going to get our HEA, right? Right??? Oh hell no. Lots of actually understandable drama ensues, but we are still hanging, but at least they have contact again, even if there are contentious feelings, we can still have our HEA, right?!?!

Oh no, then s*** truly gets real. I honestly feel like I need someone to talk to about what happens after that. Yes, it hit home because of a dear friend of mine who went through a lot of what Maggie then goes through, but even without that connection, be prepared and have plenty of tissue ready. This one got to me like few have. With a debut like this, I can’t begin to imagine the future she has ahead of her, but I’m sure it will be big, and I plan to be right there to catch each new release.

For mature audiences only for explicit sexual content. Highly recommended as long as you don’t mind shedding a few tears.

Debut - Romance

I will admit this was a really hard category to choose – I had the pleasure of reading and/or getting to know a number of authors in 2015 who released their first books.   And there were many great choices, quite a few I reviewed as 5 stars, and I truly think I debated longer about this than most any other category, but as I looked back over my notes and reviews for the year, this book still sticks out.   As I look over the review and remember how it was so not what I was looking to read when I picked it up, I also think of how deeply it moved me and how glad I was that I had “accidentally” ended up reading it.

So, congratulations Ava!   You are hearby awarded The Best Debut Novel – Romance for 2015 by LaDonna’s Book Nook!

Ava has continued to put out two more books this year, and I hate to admit that I haven’t had a chance to read them yet, but they are definitely on my TBR.  I wish Ava much success in her literary career.

 

 

2015 Awards Are Coming!

Starting on Wednesday, January 6th, LaDonna’s Book Nook will begin presenting our Best of 2015 Awards.  In case you haven’t  noticed, we do things a little differently around here, so we will present one per day (or every other day..sometimes real life makes it difficult to dedicate the time, research and detail these things deserve)  with a spotlight on the winning book and author so you really get to know why it wins and why you should add it to your must read list.

Please have patience with us as we work out the kinks to make thison of your go-to sites to discover new indie authors (and new books by those you already know) to help you find your most enjoyable reads in 2016 and beyond!

 

 

 

Blog Tour: Jennifer L. Allen’s Change of Heart

 
Title: Change of Heart
Author: Jennifer L. Allen
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 6, 2015
Casey
Evans and Decker Abrams have been best friends since they became
neighbors at the age of six. After high school, Casey abruptly leaves
their hometown of Charleston, South Carolina for the west coast, leaving
Decker wondering where she went and why she left.
Three
years later the two are reunited, both harboring some old resentment
towards the other. Not to mention, Casey has been hiding a pretty big
secret from Decker all those years. Not willing to risk losing Casey
again, Decker follows her back to California in an attempt to save their
friendship.
Will Casey and Decker work out their issues and be best friends again? Or will they finally become something more?
 
I lie in my bed, staring at the text on my phone.
Deck:  Still up?
I
look over at the alarm clock on my nightstand. It’s after midnight, and
I have a long drive ahead of me tomorrow. At this hour, Decker only
ever wants one thing. I know what I should do, but what am I going to
do?
What’s one more night, right? Does that make me a bad person?
Things
with Decker have been strained, to say the least, since Cade’s
graduation party. It’s like he knows something is wrong but is too
afraid to stir things up by asking me about it. I usually don’t hide
things from him. I’ve always been an open book.
But this…this I can’t be an open book about.
Me:  Yes.
Deck:  Is it open?
He’s referring to my bedroom window. His point of entry.
Me:  Yes.
Deck:  I’ll be right there.
I
roll to my back and stare up at the ceiling, the glow-in-the-dark stars
shine back at me. Decker and I  placed them there when we were twelve.
It was only six years ago, but it seems like a lifetime ago. Things are
so different now.
I hadn’t been sleeping with him back then.
And I hadn’t been in love with him, either.
Yep,
that’s right. I’m in love with my best friend. At Cade’s graduation
party, when I saw him with Carrie, it’s like my heart had stopped. I’d
believed what he’d told me—that it was a ruse to get him upstairs and
that he stopped when he’d figured out what she was up to. But it was in
that moment that I’d realized my feelings for Decker were much stronger
than they should have been. And then, when he and I had spoken outside
before I’d left that night, I’d realized my feelings were stronger than
his, too.
You’re my best friend.
Those
four words were like a punch in the chest. But what had I expected? For
Decker to have the big ah-ha realization moment at the exact same time
as me? Not likely. Hell, my moment of realization wasn’t even all that
awesome. Since we took our friendship to the next level, Decker has
never expressed that he wants us to be anything more than what we are.
In fact, he’d always seemed pretty content to just keep our whole
“relationship” a secret. Maybe if he would have just come out with it,
his friends would have laid off with the teasing and the name calling.
Or maybe it would have been even worse.
Then,
to make the situation even more complicated, what do I do? I go and
fall in love with him. Smooth, Casey. Real smooth. I’ve always loved
Decker, but it’s different now. Too different.
I
hear the tell-tale sound of the window being raised so I roll onto my
side to watch him climb in. Decker has been climbing in and out of my
bedroom window for more than ten years, but it’s only happened at night,
like this, the past few months.
Regardless
of the obvious strain, our appetite for one another hasn’t changed. All
summer long we’d feasted off one another night after night. It’s as if
I’ve been trying to quench all my desires before our impending
separation. The separation he’s still unaware of.
My
heart pinches inside my chest at the thought of this being our last
night together. Maybe, just maybe, things can be different. There
is still time.
I
take in his slightly disheveled appearance and my stomach clenches.
He’s really filled out over the past year. Thick, corded muscles in his
arms and shoulders—natural for a pitcher, tight abs, and muscular
thighs. Now another part of me is clenching.
He
struggles his way into the room, then stumbles over to my bed. His
auburn hair is slightly longer than last summer’s buzz cut, but still
quite short, and spiked in a messy, yet organized, way. He gives me a
half smirk, his eyes are hooded.
Great.
He’s drunk. Just how I’d wanted to remember tonight. I should’ve said
no. I should’ve ignored the text. I should’ve locked the damn window.
But it’s Decker. My kryptonite.
“Have you been drinking?” I foolishly ask him, already knowing the answer to my question.
He laughs as he drops on the edge of the bed and starts pulling off his shoes. “A little,” he admits.
“I thought you were in training.” The frustration is evident in my tone—not that he’d notice in his present state.
Decker
got a baseball scholarship to go to the University of South Carolina.
He is going to be a Gamecock, and everyone in our town is so proud of
him. I’m proud of him. Even though the baseball season isn’t until the
second part of the year, they have the team train all-year-round to some
degree. And when he’d accepted the scholarship, he also accepted a
pretty extensive summer training schedule to prepare him for what he
will have to deal with once he is on campus.
“It’s
one night, Case. Stop being so serious all the time. It’s summer,” he
slurs. He finally wrangles off his pants and shirt and flops down on his
back.
“It won’t kill you to take things seriously every once in a while.” Maybe if you took things seriously once in a while, you’d realize that life was about to change, I think to myself but don’t dare speak. I don’t want a confrontation with Decker. Yeah…I’m a chicken.
“And
it won’t kill you to give it a rest every once in a while,” he
counters. And he’s right. It is our last night together, the least I can
do is refrain from lecturing him. It is too late for it to do any good
anyway. Isn’t it?
I
sigh in acceptance, and he takes it as an invitation, rolling towards
me and cupping my face. I look into his deep green eyes, and for a
moment, I swear he looks sad. But he can’t possibly be. He doesn’t know
what’s really been plaguing me these past couple months.
He
closes his eyes and presses his lips against mine. I pull him closer
and he moves himself above me. My mouth opens on a soft moan and he
takes advantage, pushing his way inside. Our tongues clash and our
bodies grind against each other as we rid one another of our clothes,
coming together completely one last time.
It’s
a night I will never forget. I’m so grateful that the bedroom light is
out, and the moon is low so he can’t see the tears I can’t hold back in
the dark.
“Decker?”
I take some comfort in the heat radiating from his naked body pressed
up against my back. It makes me feel bold. Bold enough to speak my
heart? My mind?  
“Hmm?”
“Things
are going to change.” I close my eyes tight, badly wanting to tell him
everything. How much I love him…really, really love him. And that I’m
going to Stanford. I want him to assure me that everything will be
okay…that we’ll be okay. That he loves me, too, and we’ll make it work
despite the distance. I need his strength.
“Nah.”
He yawns loudly, the liquor on his breath wafting over my shoulder as
he exhales and pulls me tighter against him. “We might not see each
other as much…but we’ll always be best friends.”
The small glimmer of hope I had burns out in the night.
“Best friends…right.” A final tear falls from my eye, runs down my cheek and drops to the pillow with an audible plop.
“Forever…” he murmurs.
By morning, Decker is gone.

   A few hours later, so am I.

 


 
 
Jennifer
lives in South Carolina with her husband and their four fur-kids. She
is in grad school, pursuing a Masters in Psychology for Clinical
Counseling. When she is not at work or taking classes, she is either
reading or writing. Books have always been a passion. She also enjoys
spending time with her family, traveling to new places, and music. She
released her debut novel, Our Moon, in June 2015.


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Cover Reveal: Game of Fear by Gledè Browne Kabongo

I am so excited to premiere the cover reveal for Gledé Browne Kabongo’s next release, Game of Fear. My very first review on this blog was Gledè’s Swan Deception. (https://ladonnasbooknook.wordpress.com/2015/03/22/book-review-glede-browne-kabangos-swan-deception/) – which is a fantastic thriller, by the way.  (and the new one is related, so go ahead and pick up Swan Deception now of you haven’t read it yet….)

So without further digression, I am pleased to present:

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Exciting, isn’t it? I know I can’t wait! Here’s the blurb to entice you a bit more, and make you wish February was coming sooner!

Game of Fear
By Gledé Browne Kabongo

A simple mistake…an explosive secret…a future that may never come.

Overachieving good girl Abbie Cooper has her future all planned out—from college, to her medical specialty, and even the hospital at which she’ll complete her residency. As senior year at her elite private school kicks off, she can’t afford distractions. It’s her last chance to set Phase I of her plan into motion: acceptance letters from both Princeton and Yale. But Abbie is on a collision course with disaster. Two years earlier, she made a terrible mistake—one regrettable moment in time that could destroy not only her chances of getting into the Ivy League, but the lives of those closest to her.

When Abbie discovers a note in her locker with the warning, “I know what you did”, she chalks it up to a childish prank orchestrated by her number one hater, Sidney Bailey Shepard. Then a package arrives in the mail. It contains a photograph that captures her most shameful deed— the blunder she can never erase, in glorious detail. Someone is out to ruin her, but who and why? If Abbie doesn’t solve the puzzle before college acceptance decisions are made, it’s game over…

Watch this page for information when in preorders are available and where you can pick it up when it is released!

Promo Blitz: The Boys Club by Angie Martin is on sale!

This is one of my very favorite books and a great price.  Don’t missout on this limited time offer!

Growing up a homeless juvenile delinquent left its mark on Gabriel Logan. He lived a throwaway existence until a former FBI agent recruited him for a fringe organization for boys like him, ones who could operate outside the law for the sake of justice. As an adult, he sets an example for the others and is slated to take over their group, until his work results in the murder of his pregnant wife.
Going through the motions of everyday life, Logan does only what’s required of him with one goal in mind: kill Hugh Langston, the man responsible for his wife’s death. When he’s handed the opportunity to bring Langston down, he jumps at the chance, but the job will challenge him more than anything in the past. Not only does he have to save Langston’s daughter from her father’s hit list, but the job seems to have come to them a little too easily. Logan must find a way to not only rescue the one woman who can take down his biggest enemy, but also look into the men he trusts most to discover which one of them is betraying The Boys Club.

Purchase Link:
http://bit.ly/theboysclubnovel

TBC Sale