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Disclaimer: I was given an ARC by the author’s publisher, Harlequin, in exchange for an honest review.

 

How can we expect a relationship to build and last? She was a thief and pickpocket, looking for a mark before skipping town.  He accidentally snagged her bracelet as she went for his wallet. She’s on the run from a husband she left on her wedding day. He hires her to work in the family bar.

Not exactly great attributes to lay a strong foundation in a relationship. Yet, through careful weaving of B.J. Daniels’ threads, Mariah Ayres and Darby Cahill do indeed lay that foundation. And over then next three hundred-odd pages, it grows.

Several sets of secondary characters add depth to Mariah and Darby’s story. It seems impossible that one could not care what happens to them as the threats move in.

There are plenty of strong emotions carried through the story. The characters are well fleshed out. The scenes are believable.

Lastly, the conclusion gave a whole new meaning to “It was a dark and stormy night”. It truly was a dark and stormy night when Mariah’s past came to be her very real and scary present, and threatened not only her future, but Darby’s and others as well. Meantime, other character’s lives that ran alongside Mariah and Darby now that their own futures jeopardized.

And with a flick of her mighty pen, B.J. Daniels ties up all the loose threads of her tapestry, leaving a satisfying end result.

Note, this is subtitled A Cahill Ranch Novel, which also includes ‘Renegade’s Pride’ as part of each stand-alone in the series.

 

 

I am very pleased to have fellow author, Carole Ann Moleti, visit. I love the title and cover of her latest novel, “Storm Watch”, book three of the Unfinished Business series. The official genre is Light Paranormal Romance. It has some spice, open door sex scenes, but no erotic. The author tells me there is minimal foul language.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35436420-storm-watch

 

Welcome Carole Ann!  Tell us about your series.

Thanks so much for hosting me today. Storm Watch is the third book in the series, which I started writing as short story I called Unfinished Business, back in 2006. That initial piece was published in Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts. Truly unfinished, it was the middle of the story, and I was encouraged to “novelize” it by adding the backstory for Liz and Elisabeth, which became Breakwater Beach. Then I wrote forward to expand on Mike and Jared’s stories. Storm Watch brings all the characters and their ghosts back onstage together.

The Unfinished Business Series

I’m excited, but a little sad because this is the last book in the series, at least with Mike and Liz as the hero and heroine.  I’ve toyed with the idea of writing two more books, one focused on Mae and Kevin, and one based on Sandra.  Based on past experience, once I’m sitting on Breakwater or Paine’s Creek Beach this summer, or walking the Brewster Flats, I’ll be dictating scenes from Book Four into my Dragon app. Good thing I go walking alone early in the morning else people would think I was nuts.

Oh, I think we writers are entitled to talk to ourselves and not be declared officially insane. Don’t you agree? We can always refer to is as ‘research’. {wink, wink}

All these books have strong autobiographical themes, though most people will not pick up on those unless they know me very well. Sure, the birth scene harkens back to my work at the North Shore Birth Center. But the characters are composites of people I know, put into situations I’ve encountered when on the Cape or wandering around Boston, my adopted city where I lived during my midwifery internship. I’ve put up some of my favorite images on Pinterest boards for the Unfinished Business series https://www.pinterest.com/caroleannmoleti/the-unfinished-business-series/ , Storm Watch, https://www.pinterest.com/caroleannmoleti/storm-watch/   and Liz’s Boston https://www.pinterest.com/caroleannmoleti/lizs-boston/

 

There is so much I’d love to talk about, but I’d really rather answer questions readers might have about the series, or the individual books. So, read the blurbs and the excerpts on my website http://www.caroleannmoleti.com/the-unfinished-business-series/  to get a feel and ask away. {blurbs to each book and one excerpt are also given below} Better yet, subscribe to my newsletter http://eepurl.com/bfNver  All new subscribers get a free PDF of Haunted: Ten Tales of Ghosts, plus special announcements, bonus content, and all my tour information , including sales.

Amazon Order Link:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073DJZLD3

 

 

Social Media Links

Newsletter:  http://eepurl.com/bfNver

Twitter: http://Twitter.com/Cmoleti

Website: http://www.caroleannmoleti.com/the-unfinished-business-series/

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

Blog:  http://caroleannmoleti.blogspot.com

plus.google.com/103609323247390103301

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/goodreadscomCmoleti

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/caroleannmoleti/

BREAKWATER BEACH ➜➜ http://amzn.to/2spo5a9
THE WIDOW’S WALK ➜➜ http://amzn.to/2sZdi3v

Blurbs:

Breakwater Beach: Book One    

 

Liz Levine is convinced her recently deceased husband is engineering the sequence of events that propels her into a new life. But it’s sea captain Edward Barrett, the husband that died over a century ago, who has returned to complete their unfinished business. Edward’s lingering presence complicates all her plans and jeopardizes a new relationship that reawakens her passion for life and love. What are Captain Barrett’s plans for his wife, and for the man who is the new object of her affections?

 

The Widow’s Walk: Book Two     

 

Mike and Liz Keeny are newlyweds, new parents, and the proprietors of the Barrett Inn, an 1875 Victorian on Cape Cod, which just happens to be haunted. By their own ghosts. The Inn had become an annex of Purgatory, putting Mike, Liz, and their infant son in danger. Selling the historic seaside bed and breakfast was the only answer, one that Liz and her own tortured specter refused to consider. Were they doomed to follow the same path that led to disaster in their previous lives? Was getting out, getting away, enough?

Storm Watch: Book Three    

 

Mike and Liz thought they’d gotten control of the specters haunting the Barrett Inn. But things get very complicated when they’re the ghosts from your past life. The Category Five Hurricane bearing down on Cape Cod appears to be headed directly for them–or has it been spawned from inside them? Knowing it’s their last chance to end the hauntings, Mike and Liz must decide whether to run or to defy evacuation orders. Will they survive the storm?

 

Excerpt of “Storm Watch”–

 

Mike and Liz had survived the first round, and they’d remained hopeful the specters would settle down. But there was enough unfinished business for any cosmic disturbance to rile them up again. This storm watch was more than just a minor blip on the radar—or a coincidence.

Noisy seagulls hunted as the storm with enough power to blow them to Rhode Island threatened. Mike rolled his shoulders, flexing the stiff muscles in his back, trying to imagine he could shed his wife and his son to escape the gaping jaws of Captain Edward Barrett’s legacy. Normally a lingering vague threat, it rubbed him raw at moments like this when he had nothing to do but wait for the bay to come in around him so he could go out and make a living.

He rinsed his hands in a tide pool. The shadow sent hermit crabs scurrying. Brine stung his knuckles but stopped the oozing with that invisible layer of stickiness every saltwater fisherman learns to love. An incoming tide rolled across the flats as the storm clouds amassed.

The boat teeter-tottered on its keel as Mike climbed aboard and settled into a seat. Reassured by the glimmering water rippling in to release him from bondage, he readied his fishing gear. Chants of “ohmmmmm” from morning beach yoga carried in the breeze. At least that was connection with living spirits, as opposed to the dead, stale vestiges of lives ended too soon who were unable to give up and let go.

A woman out for an early morning walk grew larger and larger. Her broad-brimmed hat dipped so low over her eyes he couldn’t see her face, though her skinny legs, matchstick arms, and pigeon chest were unmistakable once she’d emerged from the glare. That, the jangling earrings, and the purple and pink broomstick skirt hitched up and secured with a silver belt.

“Good morning, Mike.” Always oppositional, Sandra was headed out when everyone was on their way back.

“Where’re you going, Sandra? Tide’s coming in.”

She flipped up the floppy brim and grinned. “I’m headed over to check on Harley.”

The Whaler rocked in the surf. “Should be ready to roll in about twenty minutes. I’ll give you a ride over.”

Sandra didn’t break stride. “That’s okay. I’ll be sitting on the beach with the old buzzard before you even pull up anchor.”

They were both oddballs: He, wearing a Red Sox cap, a scruffy beard, a black tee-shirt showing a bit of belly, while sitting like a bum in a beached boat. Sandra, like an escapee from a Harry Potter novel, headed over to check on a ninety-six-year-old hermit who lived on a dune that was cut off from the mainland at high tide.

 

 

 

 

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Depending on who you are, those words–an observation–is going to bring up different reactions.

Is it said by a pair or group of women berating another women, one they view as a competitor? Is it coming from a bunch of guys sitting around a twelve-pack or pool table, talking about a lady one of the just met? If so, pictures please.

Or are they words thrown out in anger and bitterness about me, either overheard or spat to my face? Ouch! That would really hurt.

The main thing is that to just hear the comment, without a setting or description of who is talking or listening, our minds can run pretty wild with those words.

So the truth is, I was in the shower, lamenting how my cat, Kryshnah, is frequently catching the curtain with her long tail and puling it back as she slinks along the tub’s edge. Kryshnah is lanky and sleek, with that slender tail that hooks everything it seems, especially the shower curtain. She is like a slinky with giraffe legs.

I just stood out on my porch and watched the rain fall in heavy sheets. It was wholly refreshing and relaxing. It was perhaps the second time all year I have had such a pleasant experience. When I bought my home in 2014, the porch was one of the big selling points. Then, I could already see myself nestled under a throw, cradling a cuppa tea while either scribbling away at my latest literary work, journaling, or simply–like today–watching the rain drop.

The first couple of years I did just that in regular batches. This year, sadly, I have not had the time. Why? Because I have been caught up in a whirlwind.

A whirlwind is described as a vortex (vertically rotating column) of wind forms due to instabilities and turbulence made by heating (air temperature) and flow (current gradients). Okay, what that technical mouthful means to me is a whirlwind is what occurs when air and things heat up, creating instability and turbulence, which in turn forms a strong rotating column of wind that whirls around, creating havoc and damage.

Yup, that about sums it up. It is bearing down on me, growling like a mad bear, claws at the ready. And I just stand there, too busy, tired, fed up, etc… to do much of anything. Certainly not smart enough to take solace on a wicker sofa with a cup of coffee (and probably something chocolate) on a rainy day.

Sound familiar?  We get busy with this and that and more and still more, and before we know it, the simple pleasures of life have slipped by and we wonder why haven’t we done this more recently. Just look how fast the pages of the calendar turn. I know each calendar’s days are numbered, but come on now. I am still waiting for April to get here so I can tear up the brick in the courtyard and fix a sagging patch. April? Next week I’ll be facing July in the eyes.

We can probably all lament about what our own personal whirlwind is. Mine is responsibility. I have come to see that as a character flaw. I have a full-time job, usually cracking around 44-45 hours a week. I pet sit and dog walk around that, usually around 15-18 hours a week. And my time around those two are devoted to writing tasks.

My second release of the year just came out this week and I am in the middle of a virtual blogging tour. There is a giveaway I am posting about for my romantic suspense novel that just turned one-year-old. There are two more novels coming out in November so there is covers, blurbs, hooks, and tags to work on before edits begin. I am in the middle of first round edits for my first-ever self published non-fiction book, based on the journey with my PTSD dog. Let me just say the world between self-publishing and traditional house publishing is vast indeed. Vast. And should I tire of any of those endless tasks I can always update blog, website, media pages, newsletters,  ads, etc… And should I run out of ideas there, I can always work on my latest work-in-progress. Right now I am about 20,000 words into a time travel romance novel. Roughly a quarter of the way done with the first rough draft.

And any time beyond all of that above is spent doing what zillions of others do. Clean the house, do the laundry, pay the bills, go shopping, brush the dog, fill the bird feeders, visit friends, call family, plus cooking and somewhere in there, sleeping.  Admittedly, everyone’s list of whirlwind activities will look a little different, but we all have them. The point is, we get so caught up in where we have to be, doing what we have to do, seeing who we have to see, that we feel the whirlwind of life swirl around us, and pick us up, and whisk us away from the pleasurable things that we need to keep us grounded, stable, and sane.  Like sitting on the porch and watching the rain fall. Or sitting by the river watching the river bubble past. Or whatever restores your sanity and breath.

This past week, I was doing a drop in visit at a client’s house and was petting a cat on the chin. Kitty loved it so I lingered, chatting and scratching while kitty purred in bliss. A thought struck me and I said it to kitty: “I always thought I was slowly going insane. Now I realize I am on the express freight train instead.”

Kitty didn’t care. Kitty was in his own personal moment of comfortable bliss.

I am so excited to have author Joanne Guidoccio stop in for a visit. She is here to tell us about her new romantic suspense book, “Too Many Women in the Room“. I really like that title. Joanne, please take it away:

 

On a Greek Culinary Journey with Joanne:

Gilda Greco, protagonist of Too Many Women in the Room, and I have a special fondness for Greek cuisine. We appreciate the simple and elegant flavors of foods and beverages that can be traced back to Ancient Greece.

Here are ten interesting milestones from Greek culinary history:

  1. Feta cheese is said to be about 6,000 years old, making it one of the world’s oldest cheeses.
  2. In Greece, cheesecakes were considered excellent sources of energy and served to athletes during the first Olympic Games in 776 B.C. Greek brides and grooms celebrated their nuptials with cheesecake.
  3. The first “cookbook” was written by Greek poet and gourmand, Archestratos, in 330 B.C. His humorous didactic poem Hedypatheia (Life of Luxury), written in hexameters but known only from quotations, advises the reader where to find the best food in the Mediterranean world.
  4. In the Middle Ages, monastic brothers who prepared food in the Greek Orthodox monasteries, wore tall white hats to distinguish themselves from regular monks, who wore large black hats.
  5. Many ingredients used in modern Greek cooking—bananas, potato, spinach, tomato—were unknown until the discovery of the Americas.
  6. Dishes with names like tzatziki (from the Turkish “cacik”), hummus (from the Arabic word for chickpea) and dolmades (from the Turkish word “dolma”) also found a home in Greek cooking.
  7. The Greek Frappe (similar to an iced coffee) was invented at the Thessaloniki Trade Fair in 1957.
  8. Greece’s climate is ideal for growing olive and lemon trees, producing two important elements of Greek cooking. Spices, garlic, and herbs such as basil, mint, oregano, and thyme are added to create blends of tangy seasonings.
  9. Lamb, which is usually spit-roasted, is the most popular meat served in Greek homes and restaurants. Other meats include chicken, pork, beef, and fish. All of these meats can be used in souvlaki.
  10. Filo dough, ultra-thin, flaky pastry, forms the foundation of many popular Greek recipes, including Spanakopita (spinach pie) and Baklava (sweet pastry with nuts).

Yep, I am fond of several Greek foods; Baklava, olive oil, and of course cheesecake!

Blurb for “Too Many Women in the Room”:

When Gilda Greco invites her closest friends to a VIP dinner, she plans to share David Korba’s signature dishes and launch their joint venture— Xenia, an innovative Greek restaurant near Sudbury, Ontario. Unknown to Gilda, David has also invited Michael Taylor, a lecherous photographer who has throughout the past three decades managed to annoy all the women in the room. One woman follows Michael to a deserted field for his midnight run and stabs him in the jugular.

Gilda’s life is awash with complications as she wrestles with a certain detective’s commitment issues and growing doubts about her risky investment in Xenia. Frustrated, Gilda launches her own investigation and uncovers decades-old secrets and resentments that have festered until they explode into untimely death. Can Gilda outwit a killer bent on killing again?

Excerpt

“I’m a nobody here,” David said, glancing down at his plate. “And with my credit rating, none of the banks would endorse a loan. I’m screwed.”

“What if I backed you?” I couldn’t believe I was speaking so casually, all the while my heart beat at an alarming rate.

David rubbed a hand over his chin and flashed a grin at me. “Gilda, darling, you’re sweet to offer, but I don’t think you know what’s involved here.”

Susan nodded in agreement.

Were they playing me, I wondered. Since winning nineteen million dollars in Lotto649, I had encountered many sharks who hoped to prey on my easy-going nature. A quick Google search would have revealed my three-year-old lottery win. Old news, but still there on the second and third pages.

“Would one hundred thousand dollars be enough?” I asked. “In case you don’t know, I won a major lottery several years ago.” Since winning, I had received many proposals from across the province and had backed three local ventures. In each case, I had chosen to remain a silent partner.

David’s right hand trembled as he poured himself another glass of wine. Susan’s mouth dropped open, and she gave a little gasp.

“I take it that’s a yes,” I said.

More mild protests followed, and another bottle of wine disappeared. We were all a bit tipsy when we shook on the agreement. And so Xenia was born.

Book Trailer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CORaCadAnbA

Buy Links

 

Amazon (US): https://is.gd/NRjAXT

Amazon (Canada): https://is.gd/1pX3Bn

Kobo: https://is.gd/5VwbTf

Indigo: https://is.gd/o3ZKRW

The Wild Rose Press: https://is.gd/1mns8Q

Barnes & Noble: https://is.gd/NFHdlS

 

Bio

In 2008, Joanne took advantage of early retirement from a 31-year teaching career and decided to launch a second act that would tap into her creative side and utilize her well-honed organizational skills. Slowly, a writing practice emerged. Her articles and book reviews were published in newspapers, magazines, and online. When she tried her hand at fiction, she made reinvention a recurring theme in her novels and short stories. A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne writes cozy mysteries, paranormal romance, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.

Where to find Joanne…

Website: http://joanneguidoccio.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/joanneguidoccio

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

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joanneguidoccio

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/jguidoccio/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7277706.Joanne_Guidoccio

 

Giveaway:

 

Click on the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

 

https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/628069205/

 

First off, let me say this is not my normal genre; being a military/action/suspense/romance. It takes place in Somalia and I don’t normally travel far from the US or Europe in my readings. So I went with an open mind, wondering where this new adventure in reading would take me.

This is a 400 page book that spans about two days. To say the book is riddled with action is an understatement.

Tess Newell, strong willed and devoted-to-the-cause American journalist, is about to blow the lid off the story of a lifetime, incriminating governments, politicians, and leaders across a few countries. She is kidnapped and sentenced to be executed. Before that happens, a French Foreign Legionnaire is tossed into her cell.

The chemistry between Tess and Flynn, the Legionnaire, is sudden and swift. Thanks to Flynn’s skills, they escape and flee, dodging their captures as their passions slowly escalate.

What I liked most about this story is how the author did not give Tess and Flynn any easy outs. When presented with a vehicle during their on-foot escape, many writers would be tempted to give them the vehicle and let them ride for a while. Ms. Kelly did not make things so easy on our hero and heroine. She refused to let them have the vehicle, and instead used it as a distraction as they continued on foot. The saga of their escape is full of such devises where the hunter–and reader–would expect them to do something, and the author takes them another way. Kudos on some splendid writing.

Because this is an action/ adventure story, there is also some sex. Their relationship, though fast to bloom, also seemed organic. Neither Tess nor Flynn want to trust the other, yet the gradual–grudging?–trust does form. And so does the sexual interest. Though they only make love two or three times, it is as explosive as the runaway action is. Warning–there is also a lot of profane f*ck language used throughout the book.

When help from Flynn’s squad arrives, about 3/4 through the book, the other Legionnaire’s add plenty of spice with their own stories and personalities. If you like action packed stories, with an international flair, told through a military lens and your romance as loaded as an M-16, you will enjoy “Edge of Truth”.

 

I enjoy reading books by Best selling authors. I want to dissect their works to see what ingredient(s) got them to their best selling status. And since, I enjoy westerns, I was doubly excited to read “Coltrane Corners”. To begin with, it had a well crafted back cover blurb and a nice cover.

However, 1/4 of the way through, I was already shaking my head. Few books make me as frustrated to read as this one did. If not for some redeeming qualities, I might have been tempted to give up.

For starters, Elizabeth Coltrane, the main character, has returned home after six years “back east” at some fancy school. It was supposed to turn her into a proper lady, as well as time spent eastward was to help her physically. As far as I can tell, all it did was turn her from a pleasant, fun, and likeable young girl into a childish snob.

She is immature, and not at all likable compared to the backstory provided. Spoiler–six years ago the guy she had a teen crush on said some insensitive things that drove her away. That was six years ago. She was a girl of fourteen. Yet she clings to it like a crutch now, and uses it as a cause to treat Chase Cameron, the male main character, as terrible as possible. I wished she would grow up already and stop looking at that one single event through the lens of a fourteen-year-old.

And truthfully, the men were not much better. Lots of indecision on their parts. It sort of ended up reminding me of the old Life cereal commercial with Mickey and the two boys. The boys kept saying, “I’m not gonna eat it, you eat it.” as they push the bowl of cereal between them, until one finally decides to give it to Mickey to try. Except there is no Mickey in Coltrane Corners to take responsibility for Elizabeth’s flame and her father. So they push the past between them like immature boys.  Personally, if one of them would have grown a pair, and treated Elizabeth like the grown lady she was supposed to be, instead of the child she acted like, the story could have been much less redundant. Truly, Daddy would rather pay his ranch hands to follow his daughter around and spy on her instead of just telling her the truth about a danger around the ranch. Not very mature of anyone.

The redeeming qualities of the story was the language. It was very natural to the time and setting. It seemed well researched and organic. The metaphors were amusing and clearly pictured. Chase was very likeable, from his endless patience in dealing with Elizabeth’s endless tantrums and stunts to his protectiveness of both her and her father. I found myself rooting for Chase, even if he isn’t the strongest hero in print. It seemed he was the strongest one in the book.

Spoiler, my pet peeve is male characters who make macho, chauvinistic, know-half-the-story, stereotypical assumptions. I see red when I read that stuff and want to claw someone’s eyeballs out. I wish we could have bad guys without the assumptions that the woman is naturally a whore. Apparently not if she hasn’t “spread ’em” for that guy.

All in all, “Coltrane’s Corners” was an acceptable read, not something I would want to read again. If one can get past the redundant backstory telling and the chauvinistic arse-holes sprinkled along, the action and dialogue will make up for it.