Book Review for I DON’T THINK IT’S THAT SIMPLE by Nicole Eva Fraser

Title: I Don’t Think It’s that Simple
Author: Nicole Eva Fraser
Publisher: Second Wind Publishing
Genre: Psychological Fiction
ISBN: 978-193810159

I Don’t Think It’s that Simple
by Nicole Eva Fraser

Book review by Maribeth Shanley

Ms. Fraser’s writing is excellent and her book well executed. I must admit, I did not like her main character, Evan, which made reading difficult. I found him to be arrogant, full of himself, narcissistic, yet, so insecure that he could never commit to anything, especially himself. I felt Ms. Frazer’s character, Julia, expressed everything that was wrong with Evan when she said about her own life, “Life is all mine now –to fly or fall — it’s up to me.” She said this while all Evan could think of was himself. Not my type of person at all.

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MaribethMaribeth Shanley lives in Myrtle Beach, SC with her husband Bob Bibb.  They have three furry and three feathered children.  Maribeth is now retired from McCormick and Co., Inc. of the famous spice brand.  Once retired she decided to try her hand at writing.  “I’ve always loved to write and dreamed of becoming a writer.  Never did I imagine, however, it would actually happen.” Shanley is the author of the novel Crack in the World, which is based on her own experiences as a sexually abused child.

 

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Book Review for I DON’T THINK IT’S THAT SIMPLE by Nicole Eva Fraser

Title: I Don’t Think It’s that Simple
Author: Nicole Eva Fraser
Publisher: Second Wind Publishing
Genre: Psychological Fiction
ISBN: 978-193810159

I Don’t Think It’s that Simple
by Nicole Eva Fraser

Book review by Carrie Jane Knowles

Nicole Eva Fraser’s beautifully written and fully realized novel of one man’s struggle to find his own life story, I Don’t Think It’s That Simple, will keep you up all night turning the pages! And, as you read on way past your bedtime, you’ll find yourself hoping Evan’s last chance to choose to do the right thing will both open his heart and give him courage to seize the love he has been searching for his whole life.

Nicole’s wonderful characters that she’s carefully wrapped in fine polished prose make this book simply a great read!

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Carrie Jane Knowles has been a freelance writer for the past forty years. She has published widely in both fiction and non-fiction and has won a number of prestigious writing awards, including: Midland Authors Poetry Award, the American Heart and Torch Award for Creative Journalism, and Glimmer Train’s Very-Short Fiction Contest. She is the author of Apricots in a Turkish Garden.

Carrie and her husband, Jeff Leiter, live in Raleigh, North Carolina. They have three children.

 

Book Review for INDIAN SUMMER by Dellani Oakes

Title: Indian Summer
Author: Dellani Oakes
Publisher: Second Wind Publishing
Genre: Historical romance
ISBN: 978-1935171102
Indian Summer

Indian Summer
by Dellani Oakes

Book review by S. M. Senden

I appreciate a well researched story that not only teaches me something about the era, but more importantly takes me along and immerses me deep into the era with sights, sounds and smells that touch my senses. Dellani Oakes has done this quite successfully in Indian Summer a story of love lost and won, betrayal and coming of age in St. Augustine. Her characters are rich and have depth. I will be reading more of her books!

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S. M. Senden was raised in Winnetka, a north shore suburb of Chicago. From an early age reading and writing were passions as was travel. Senden has studied, lived and worked in the USA, Europe, the Mid-East and Africa, spending a number of years as an archaeological illustrator for various expeditions. S. M. Senden earned a Masters Degree and has studied creative writing, play writing and screenwriting.

Senden is the author of Clara’s Wish, Lethal Boundaries, and Murder at the Johnson and a number of ghost stories in various magazines.

Book Review for THISTLE DOWN by Sherrie Hansen

Title: Thistle Down
Author: Sherrie Hansen
Publisher: Second Wind Publishing, LLC
Genre: Romance
ISBN: 978-1938101496

thistle

Thistle Down
by Sherrie Hansen

Book review by David Pereda

THISTLE DOWN reads like a made for TV character-driven, episode of a series filmed in Scotland. The character of the pastor, Ian McCraig, is engaging and authentic. The characterizations of Emily, Benjamin, Greg, and Chelsea are unique and believable. The descriptions are vivid, and the story flows smoothly, leaving a few lose ends to tie, I suppose, in future episodes — like the stolen church items and the relationship between love-struck Chelsea and selfish Greg. All in all, it’s a nice read for a Sunday afternoon. I would have preferred to have seen all these loose ends resolved in this episode instead of left as dangling carrots to entice the reading of subsequent episodes. I admit I was a little disappointed and even considered making this a three-star review — but the strength of Sherrie Hansen’s writing, her keen eye for description, and her perceptive characterizations won me over in the end. A four-star review it is.

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 DavidPeredaDavid Pereda is an award-winning author who enjoys crafting political thrillers and mainstream novels. His books have won the Lighthouse Book Awards twice, the Royal Palm Awards, the National Indie Excellence Awards, and the Readers Favorite Awards twice. He has traveled to more than thirty countries around the world and speaks four languages. Before devoting his time solely to writing and teaching, Pereda had a rich and successful international consulting career with global giant Booz Allen Hamilton, where he worked with the governments of Mexico, Venezuela, Peru and Qatar, among others. Visit David online at: www.davidpereda.com Other titles by David Pereda: However Long the Night Havana: Top Secret Havana: Killing Castro

Excerpt From “World Without Music” by J. Conrad Guest

a world without musicReagan returns home from the first Gulf War horrified by the discovery of the mutilated remains of Tom Wallach, a marine he and his squad find a Kuwaiti desert. Suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, he often carries on discussions with Tom in his dreams… at least, that’s what he tells himself they are: dreams.

***

Excerpt from A World Without Music:

“I have a daughter, you know,” Tom Wallach said from beside Reagan.

“I know.”

“She’s twenty-one now.”

“I’m sure she’s grown into a beautiful young woman.” Reagan took a sip from his glass of bourbon.

“Mind if I ask you to look in on her?”

“Why? Aren’t you able to do that?”

“Sure, and I have. She’s a smart kid. Takes after her mother. Enrolled in the law program at U of M. I’m proud of her. You’re right, she’s beautiful. But I’m partial.”

Reagan waited. It was his dream, but he had no control of the conversation.

“When you get in touch with her,” Wallach said, the conclusion forgone, “tell her about me, will you?”

“I hardly knew you, Tom.”

“You don’t have to tell her much,” Wallach said, as if he hadn’t heard Reagan. “Tell her that I liked to laugh, liked to pull a practi­cal joke, but that I had my serious side, too.”

Did you? Reagan asked himself. He was certain his subconscious was simply filling in fictitious details of Wallach’s life for him. Dreams were funny that way.

“I wouldn’t tell you if it weren’t so. Tell her I was a good marine.” Wallach held up his empty shot glass; a moment later, the bartender topped it off with Maker’s Mark.

After the bartender left, Wallach added, “You can tell her I liked bourbon—don’t all marines? But always in moderation.” He held up his shot glass to the light, to admire the caramel color of its contents. “God, I miss this stuff.”

Reagan thought about pinching himself to see if he would wake up.

“It’s tough, isn’t it?” Wallach said. “Losing your innocence. Your first drinking binge, your first woman, the first time you kill a man. The first time you see a dead body, mutilated. You spend the rest of your life trying to get that innocence back.”

Reagan took a sip from the second bourbon he couldn’t remember ordering. Such were dreams.

“It wasn’t your fault, you know?” Wallach said. “They came out of nowhere, while I was running a message from our position to the unit on our right flank. The area was supposed to be secure.” Wallach paused. “They gagged me and put a sack over my head. They marched me for a while. I don’t know, maybe an hour, maybe it was two. Funny how the passage of time is more difficult to measure without eyesight.”

Reagan nodded.

“They worked me over pretty good, once we stopped. But you know that.”

Reagan nodded again.

“It hurt, what they did. The torture. Funny thing about pain though. At some point everything hurts so much that each new pain they inflict, you don’t feel it. Maybe it’s because you’re on overload.”

“Maybe it’s because you were in shock,” Reagan said.

“Yeah, maybe. I never thought of that. Makes sense.” And then: “That last thing they did to me? It was almost a relief, because I knew they were done with me.”

“Jeesus.”

“I was a good marine, right to the end. Never cried, never begged for mercy. Wouldn’t give them the satisfaction.”

“That’s good, Tom. I’m proud of you.” Because he didn’t know what else to say.

“So you’ll look in on her?”

“I don’t know, Tom.”

“Her name is Mimi. Believe it or not, it’s a popular Arabic name. Gretchen and I wanted to give her a connection to that area of the world, as if we could somehow bridge cultures, bring a little peace to the planet.” Wallach allowed himself the luxury of a chuckle. “We later learned its meaning is ‘uncertain, maybe bitter.’ I guess it was apropos after all.”

“I’m sure she’s anything but bitter, Tom.”

“No, she’s not,” Wallach said, and Reagan wondered how he knew. “So what do you say, buddy?” Wallach added.

Reagan cringed. They were never buddies while Wallach was alive.

But we’re drinking buddies now , he thought. In my dreams.

“I don’t know, Tom,” Reagan said a second time. He wondered if Mimi would care, if she even thought about the daddy she never knew.

“She cares,” Wallach said. “She thinks of me more than she should. I don’t have to tell you how that makes me feel.”

“How would I even find her?”

“You won’t have to look too hard,” Wallach said, knowingly. “Remember, she’s in Ann Arbor. One more thing I want you to tell her,” he added.

“What’s that?”

“Tell her that my last thoughts were of her.”

Reagan nodded yet again thinking, Funny, how when I’m awake I’m never at a loss for words. But in my dreams, I got nothing to say.

“Reagan.” Wallach put his arm around Reagan.

“Yeah?”

“You’ve been a good friend. But you’ve got to let go. For your own good. For your future happiness.”

Tom Wallach held up the shot glass again and, after a moment, he downed the Maker’s in a single gulp.

“God, that’s good,” he said. Then he looked at Reagan and said, “Semper fi.”

Reagan grappled with that. Before he could voice his confusion, Wallach told him, “You can remain loyal, and still let go.”

***

Author Bio

Conrad Guest is the author of Backstop: A Baseball Love Story in Nine Innings, available from Second Wind Publishing. Nominated as a Michigan Notable Book in 2010, the Illinois Institute of Technology adopted Backstopas required reading for their spring 2011 course, “Baseball: America’s Literary Pastime.” He is also the author of a science fiction diptych—One Hot Januaryand January’s Thaw—a time travel, alternate reality tale in which Germany wins World War II, his tribute to Raymond Chandler’s hard-boiled detective genre, and its prequel, January’s ParadigmA Retrospect in Death, Guest’s sixth novel, explores the meaning of life: prewired at birth, or a product of our environment? His seventh novel, 500 Miles to Go, is a tale about the importance of, and the risks associated with, the pursuit of dreams.

For a peek into J. Conrad’s literary world, visit www.jconradguest.com.

See also: Interview With J. Conrad Guest, Author of “A World Without Music”

Excerpt From “A Ripple in the Water” by Donna Small

A Ripple in the WaterWhen widow and single mother, Katharine Penner, Spots a tall, gorgeous stranger on the other side of the local swimming pool, she is struck by her immediate and intense reaction to him. In an awkward and very uncomfortable turn of events, Kate learns that the stranger she was drawn to is non other than Riley Morgan, the new swim coach and college-aged son of one of her closest friends. Riley has long harbored feelings for Kate but kept them his most closely guarded secret, all to aware of the fact she was married and off limits. But now, one year after tragedy has left Kate alone, he has come home for the summer determined to win her affections.

As the summer progresses, these two find that their mutual attraction for each other blossoms into something much more serious than either of them ever thought possible. But can Kate’s second chance at love overcome the obstacles created by their thirteen year age difference and her friendship with Wendy, Riley’s incredibly overprotective mother?

EXCERPT:

Once his summer plans were in place, it seemed it couldn’t arrive quickly enough. His excitement was palpable, though he did his best to hide it from his roommates. They had embraced college life with two arms and were mostly occupied with cute co-eds. As a result, they were oblivious to Riley’s distraction. None of them – and his roommates were his closest friends – would understand his feelings for a woman from his hometown or his lack of desire to date any of the coeds that were constantly hanging around in their apartment as though it were a designer shoe store having a clearance sale.

Occasionally, though, one of his roommates would push the dating issue and even more occasionally, Riley would succumb to the pressure and take some girl to a movie or campus party. A part of him hoped that doing so would help him forget his feeling for Kate but it never did. The girls he dated were just that – girls. They were insecure and full of themselves at the same time. How was that even possible? How could these girls look down their noses at someone and then in the next moment, be upset because some guy called you five minutes later than he said he would? Riley shook his head. He was tired of the drama. Tired of double dating with another couple, only to have both girls leave to go to the bathroom at the same time. Tired of the stupid ones who called and hung up, not realizing that in this day and age, everyone had caller id. And he was tired of the giggling. It was maddening, and he was done.

Once he’d made that decision, it only seemed the natural progression to date women who were older. Of course, his roommates were all for this and would high-five him before each date, then poke each other in the stomach while giving each other knowing looks.

Riley, for whatever reason, found older women fascinating, making this method of dating somewhat easier than his earlier attempts. Older women were self-confident and didn’t give a shit if you called or didn’t call. They had lives of their own and while they were pleased if you called, they wouldn’t give you the third degree if you didn’t. They were comfortable with themselves and truly believed that if you didn’t call, it was your loss.

If you didn’t call, they would make other plans.

Older women had their own lives to lead and they certainly weren’t going to sit around waiting for some guy. Riley smiled, thinking of the ladies he’d dated. They were all wonderful, confident, intelligent women but, truth be told, they weren’t Kate. Despite dating these women, some of them he truly cared for, he was unable to rid himself of the ever present feelings he had for Kate.

It was Kate he wanted and there would be no substitute.

***

Donna Small is the author of two novels, Just Between Friends and A Ripple in the Water. She discovered books at a very early age and would frequently ignore her teachers in order to discreetly read book during class. To this day, she is an avid reader and can be found most evenings curled up with a good book. She lives in Clemmons, NC with her two daughters and their beagle, Charlie, where she is at work on her next novel.

Click here to buy: A Ripple in the Water

Excerpt From “Thistle Down” and “Wild Rose” by Sherrie Hansen

wildroseWhen Ian MacCraig tries to capture the thief who is stealing artifacts from his kirk in Loch Awe, Scotland, the last thing he expects to find on his video is a woman engaging in a passionate romp under the flying buttresses.

Rose Wilson is mortified to learn that Digby, the online friend she met for what she thought was a harmless rendezvous, is a common criminal.

Now that Ian, the board of Wilson Enterprises, the constable, and half the town have had a glimpse of Rose in all her naked glory, it seems even her family looks at her differently. What remains to be seen is how far Ian will go to defend Rose’s honor and if the church ladies will forgive Rose now that they know who she really is… and if Rose can believe she’s worthy of someone as good and kind as Ian MacCraig.

Wild Rose and Pastor Ian MacCraig… a match made in heaven or one hell of a predicament?

EXCERPT:

Rose Wilson turned away from the wind that whistled across Loch Awe in a futile attempt to keep her hair from being blown into a tangled knot.

Something nipped at her ankle and she reached down to swat it away. Pesky midgies.

Ouch! Her hand scratched against the thorny stem of a thistle. One more thing. As if the sticky wicket she’d gotten herself into hadn’t already worked her into enough of a dither. She glanced up at the lofty spires of St. Conan’s Kirk. If she were at all religious, she might think God was trying to tell her something.

Where could he be? It had been nigh on three years since she’d stood waiting, and waiting, and waiting at Robert’s and her favorite restaurant. When he never showed up, she’d been angry – thought he’d gotten too busy at work, forgotten she was waiting, or, worse yet, remembered and blown her off.

How could she have known he was dead?

Here she was again. So it was a kirk and not a restaurant. A man she didn’t know all that well instead of her husband. The emotions felt the same. She was peeved. So peeved she could almost forget what it was like to feel abandoned, to hurt so badly she could barely keep her head about her.

She took a deep breath and tried to relax. Would she ever get over being scared that something horrible had happened every time someone was a wee bit tardy?

He was almost an hour later than he’d said he’d be. She peeked through the hedge and tried to see round the bend that led to the village.

What were the odds that two men she was supposed to meet would die en route to their rendezvous point? She paced up and down the path that led to the kirk, squelching her nervous energy only long enough to look at a bee dipping into a rhody that was a lovely shade of lavender. And then, she was back at it, scanning the roadside for Digby’s car, checking the time on her mobile every few seconds, and imagining the worst.

She’d been waiting for an hour – plenty long enough for Digby to get there even if he’d been temporarily detained at work, gotten a speeding ticket, or stopped by the mini-mart to buy her flowers. Besides, the man had a mobile.

She clicked hers open and pressed the green button twice. Still no answer.

Where could he be? And why now? Was it because she’d been too intimate with him? Not intimate enough?

“Excuse me, ma’am.”

She blinked and looked in the direction of the voice, but the sun was in her eyes, and all she could see was a soft sheen of light backlighting the silhouette of a very tall man. Too tall to be Digby. She raised her hand to her eyes to shade the light but the sun was still blinding, clinging to his head like a halo.

“Forgive me,” the man said, just as she saw his collar, the white square gleaming brightly between the black, and thought, shouldn’t it be me saying that?

“Sorry to intrude,” he continued. “I couldn’t help noticing that you seem to be looking for someone.”

So much for her and Dig having the place to themselves. Of course, as of this moment, there wasn’t a “them” anyway, so it mattered little if they had privacy. Besides, she had been going to tell him that they couldn’t do it again, that it was too soon, that what had happened shouldn’t have. Not yet. That didn’t mean she didn’t want to be alone with him, to do something. She probably did, eventually. Just not so much, or quite so fast.

“I’m waiting for a friend,” she said.

“You’ve still plenty of time,” he said. “Worship doesn’t begin for another half hour.”

The sun wasn’t in his eyes, but behind him, illuminating her face. She knew, even without being able to see his eyes, that he could read hers perfectly.

“I didn’t realize…”

“We’ve a small but active congregation,” the man said, extending his hand. “Ian MacCraig. St. Conan’s pastor.”

***

One question you’d like commenters to answer relative to your post:  If your pastor was single, would it bother you if he or she started to date a woman or man who had been caught in a compromising situation , and who didn’t share his or her religious beliefs?

Tell us about yourself:

Twenty-one years ago, I bought a dilapidated Victorian house in northern Iowa so I could move home and be nearer my family. I rescued an amazing but very run-down old house from the bulldozer’s grips and turned it into a bed and breakfast and tea house, the Blue Belle Inn. Since then, welcoming guests, running the business and cooking wonderful food has consumed the largest chunk of my life.

Before that, I lived in Colorado Springs, CO, and before that, Augsburg, Germany. I attended Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL and spent one life-changing summer in Bar Harbor, Maine. I grew up on a farm in southern Minnesota.

After 12 years of writing romance novels late at night when I couldn’t sleep (mostly because I was so keyed up from working 12 hour days at my B&B), I met and married my real-life, romantic hero, Mark Decker, a pastor. I enjoy playing the piano with the worship team at church, needlepointing, photography, renovating and decorating historic houses, traveling, and going on weekly adventures with my nieces and nephews.

I live in 2 different houses, 85 miles apart, and write on the run, whenever I have a spare minute. “Wild Rose” is my sixth book to be published by Second Wind Publishing.

Links (website, blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, book buy links, etc.):

http://www.facebook.com/SherrieHansenDecker,

http://sherriehansen.wordpress.com/,

https://twitter.com/#!/SherrieHansen,

http://www.secondwindpublishing.com/index.php?manufacturers_id=24