Monday, July 29, 2019

Review: Lone Star Defender (Calamity Valley #3) by Jennie Jones

Nine days to build a future…

Pepper Mackillop is no soft touch - but try telling her townspeople that. She’s only been home a week and is facing so many problems she’s numbered them to keep track. Her goal is to help rejuvenate her economically rundown hometown of Reckless in Calamity Valley, Texas, but between the town’s unrealistic expectations and the underhanded developers snooping around, she’s challenged every which way. Then Jack Shepperd comes home.

Prodigal son Jack is forced to return home to his family ranch when his uncle decides to retire. He has nine days to close down the ranch and pay a debt to Pepper’s grandmother. A debt that will keep him all but glued to Pepper’s side. Pep is the most captivating, spirited, headstrong woman he’s ever met. Years ago, she broke his heart. What are the chances of a clean getaway this time around?

My Review:

I have been anticipating Pepper’s story since I started reading the Calamity Valley series.  The Mackillop women are all soothsayers and they have a curse on them.  Every MacKillop female would forever remain, husbandless, man-less and homeless.  To overcome the curse when they find true love, they have to fight off their great-grandfathers, known as the GGs, the ones who created the curse. 

Pepper didn’t think she had any mystical powers like the rest of her family had and she didn’t care about the curse.  She didn’t plan on ever getting married or having a family.  That was until Jack Shepperd turned up in town and turned her world upside down.  The things Pepper didn’t think she wanted in life were soon changing.  She was given a job of rejuvenating Reckless and Jack was put in charge of protecting Pepper.  Working so closely, Pepper and Jack soon realized they were meant to be together.  That’s when the GGs finally showed up.  Pepper and Jack had to work hard to fight off and get rid of the curse so they could get their happily ever after.

This book was an exciting read.  I was drawn in right away and it kept my full attention until the very end.  It was a perfect addition to the series.  Each book can be read as a stand-alone, but I would still recommend reading them in order.  The author does a good job of refreshing the background in each book, but there might be a few small details that get overlooked and can be found by reading in order. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Review: Fast Lane (Calhoun Customs Garage #2) by Juanita Kees

Trinity Calhoun is a name everyone knows on the race circuit, but her days in the hot seat are numbered. She’s tired of the limelight, meaningless relationships and long hours behind the wheel. When her father calls her and her sister home, she’s ready. She slips right back into the family business, finishing off the custom car projects her father has lined up. But racing is in her blood and she’s lured back to risking her life on the hot rod drag strips outside of town. It’s there she meets paramedic and volunteer firefighter, Reece Balmain, who has her re-thinking the road her life is taking.

Reece Balmain arrives in Big Fork a broken man. He’s lived and breathed through horror accidents, haunted by the faces of the people he’s cut from vehicles. He knows one thing–speed kills. He’s hoping not to see too much of it in small town Montana, until he hears about the drag races taking place outside of town. He knows Trinity Calhoun. He’s watched her race, seen her win, held his breath when her car somersaulted into barriers in Daytona Beach. He doesn’t like what she does, but he can’t stay away from the woman who’s claiming his heart.

My Review:

An emotional story about love, family and starting over. 

This was a fast-paced story about a NASCAR driver and a paramedic who helps her from her car after a wreck on the track.  Little did they know they would soon meet again.  Trinity was headed home to Montana to help take care of her father and Reece was also headed back to Montana to raise his godson, Tyler, who was left severely injured after a car accident that took both of his parents.

Trinity and Reece fall in love while helping each other overcome some of their fears of lost loved ones and starting over, along with helping Tyler overcome his grief. 

I really enjoyed this book and couldn’t help but get emotional through parts of it.  Trinity and Reece had so much loss in their young lives.  I enjoyed how they worked together to help each other.  When Trinity decides to face her fears of commitment and decides to be there for Reece and Tyler, it warmed my heart.  I just wish there was a little more to this book.  I wanted more of Reece and Trinity’s romance and to see how Tyler adjusted to life after leaving the hospital.  I’m sure this story will continue in the next book.  I’m just a bit impatient when I really like a book and end up having to wait for the next one to come out for the conclusion of the story.    

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Andrew Joyce talks about his writing career and his new book, Mahoney

My name is Andrew Joyce and I write books for a living. Janine has been kind enough to allow me a little space on her blog to promote my new book, Mahoney. So I thought I might entertain you with a story about the publishing business.

My first book, Yellow Hair, was a 164,000-word historical novel. And in the publishing world, anything over 80,000 words for a first-time author is heresy. Or so I was told time and time again when I approached an agent for representation. After two years of research and writing and a year of trying to secure the services of an agent, I got angry. To be told that my efforts were meaningless was somewhat demoralizing, to say the least. I mean, those rejections were coming from people who had never even read my book.

“So you want an 80,000-word novel?” I said to no one in particular, unless you count my dog, because he was the only one around at the time. Consequently, I decided to show them City Slickers that I could write an 80,000-word novel!

I had just finished reading Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn for the third time, and I started thinking about what ever happened to those boys, Tom and Huck. They must have grown up, but then what? So I sat down at my computer and banged out Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer in two months. I had them as adults in the Old West. Then I sent out query letters to literary agents.

A few weeks later, the chairman of one of the biggest agencies in the country emailed me. He loved the story and suggested a few changes. They were good suggestions, and I incorporated about 80% of them into the book. We signed a contract and it was off to the races, or so I thought. But then the real fun began: the serious editing. Seven months later, I gave birth to Huck and Tom as adults. And just for the record, the final word count was 79,914. The book went on to reach #1 status in its category on Amazon (twice) and won the Editor’s Choice Award for Best Western of 2013. The rest, as they say, is history.

But not quite.

Now we come to the crux of the matter. My readers really enjoyed the book. Reviewer after reviewer said they would love a sequel, but given how I ended the story, I could not envision that being possible. Then I started getting emails and phone calls from my agent, badgering me to continue the adventure. At first I ignored him. Finally, to stop the badgering, I started MOLLY LEE, a “sort of” sequel. It’s a stand-alone book, a parallel story, if you will. (Molly was a minor character in Redemption.)

Then, of course, I had to do a sequel to the sequel, hence RESOLUTION: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure.

After I got done with Huck, Tom, and Molly, I turned my attention to my first novel, the one I couldn’t sell to an agent. I whittled it down from 164,000 words to 132,000 and published it myself. And guess what? It won Book of the Year from one outfit and Best Historical Fiction of 2016 from another.

So, I reckon the moral of the story is: Stay true to your vision, but along the way, it’s all right to conform to the norms people try to place on you.

Andrew Joyce left home at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn't return from his journey until years later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written seven books. His first novel, Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, was awarded the Editors' Choice Award for Best Western of 2013. A subsequent novel, Yellow Hair, received the Book of the Year award from Just Reviews and Best Historical Fiction of 2016 from Colleen's Book Reviews.

Visit Andrew's Website:

In this compelling, richly researched novel, author Andrew Joyce tells a riveting story of adventure, endurance, and hope as the Mahoney clan fights to gain a foothold in America.

In the second year of an Gorta Mhór—the Great Famine—nineteen-year-old Devin Mahoney lies on the dirt floor of his small, dark cabin. He has not eaten in five days. His only hope of survival is to get to America, the land of milk and honey. After surviving disease and storms at sea that decimate crew and passengers alike, Devin’s ship limps into New York Harbor three days before Christmas, 1849. Thus starts an epic journey that will take him and his descendants through one hundred and fourteen years of American history, including the Civil War, the Wild West, and the Great Depression.

Purchase Mahoney Now: Amazon