Dangerous Changes Book By Joyce T Strand

A series of events rattle Emily Lazzaro: a near-death encounter with a pickup on a narrow mountain road, the murder of a would-be client, and an ex-fiancé who won’t let go. Can she survive a police investigation, pressure from her ex’s company, and the suspicions of a possible new love-interest—so that she can make the changes to create a meaningful new life in a special town in southern California?

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About Emily Lazzaro

Emily Lazzaro is the daughter of Wayne Lazzaro, the winemaker for the Hilltop Sunset winery in the previously published three Brynn Bancroft mysteries. She moved with her fiancé to Ramona, Calif., a rural community near San Diego, following graduation from college with a degree in hospitality. Her fiancé was eager to purchase a vineyard and develop a winery in the up and coming Ramona wine region, which suited Emily’s goals.

However, after moving to Ramona, it becomes apparent to Emily that she is not a good match for her fiancé. She discovers that he does not respect her opinions and insists on making decisions without her input. So she breaks off the engagement.

She decides to remain in Ramona despite her fiancé living there with his new vineyard. She appreciates the unique rocky terrain and proximity to the ocean and San Diego, along with the mixture of fine wineries, artists, and equestrian activities.  She makes her living doing people’s taxes, and when Dangerous Changes opens, we discover she is looking to make a career change.

I rated this book 4 ****”s

Is there a light at the end of the tunnel for Emily? 
 
Emily is such a sweet girl but some people manipulative on her. I feel badly for her. She just need to say no and fight back. I am sure that some women can relate to this situation. I knew it happened to me but am learning my lesson.  
 
This sweet girl is so trusting that it almost lost her life. Good thing that some good people are behind her to help her out. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel for her? She struggles a lot and every time she helped someone, something bad happened to them. Enough is enough am so glad that she fights until her last breathe.  
 
This book is full of hope and the second chance of love. Life sometimes is not fair but one thing is amazing is, when you learn how to step up and moved on to a new life and things will get better. I am looking forward for the next book in this series. 

About the Author
Joyce T. Strand is the author of who-done-it contemporary and historical mysteries set in San Francisco, Napa-Sonoma wine regions of California, or Ventura, California.

Her most recent novels, Hilltop Sunset and Landscape for Murder, feature protagonist Brynn Bancroft, a financial guru in transition to winemaker from corporate executive. Brynn Bancroft is a minor character in Strand’s first three novels On Message, Open Meetings, and Fair Disclosure—three mysteries solved by Jillian Hillcrest, a publicist in Silicon Valley whose boss was Chief Financial Officer Brynn Bancroft.

Her first historical mystery, The Judge’s Story, tells the story of a Superior Court Judge with a passion for social justice as well as the law who strives to discover the truth behind the mystery of a robbery-murder in a small California town in 1939.

All of her novels are inspired by actual events and/or real people, although they are definitely fictionalized.

Much like her protagonist Jillian Hillcrest, Strand headed corporate communications at several biotech and high-tech companies in California’s Silicon Valley for more than 25 years. Unlike Jillian, however, she did not encounter murder in her career. She focused on writing by-lined articles, press releases, white papers, and brochures to publicize her companies and their products.

She lives with her two cats and collection of cow statuary in Southern California, and enjoys exploring and writing about the growing wine region in the Ramona Valley near San Diego.

She received her Ph.D. from the George Washington University, Washington, D.C. and her B.A. from Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA

Find the author on the following sites….
Website   Blog   Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   Google+   Goodreads   Amazon Author Page

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The Fabergé Entanglement Book by Lesley Meryn & Elle Brookes

Book Details:

Book Title: The Fabergé Entanglement by Lesley Meryn & Elle Brookes
Category: Adult Fiction: 306 pages
Genre: Suspense/Action/Romance
Publisher: Lisa Kolber
Release date: July 2015
Content Rating: PG + M (There is some, not much, bad language, sensuality, one alluded sex scene but not described, possible triggers for sexual abuse/non-consensual sex as a plot point, action-style violence)

Book Description:

Sabinne ‘Saber’ Darrieux’s father, the billionaire CEO of Frontenac Global Security has been kidnapped. His ransom is not cash in a numbered offshore account, or a briefcase of Bearer Bonds but something utterly unique, incredibly valuable, and until recently, hidden away from the world.

The kidnapper seems to know Saber very well and knows that the next day, through her work as an elite translator she will be in the same location as the Object. She must steal the Object and deliver it to the kidnapper to ransom her father.

Adrian Steele, a British Intelligence agent has just come off of two harrowing missions. Upon returning to London for a well-earned rest, he learns that his friend and fellow agent has been murdered in Moscow, but not before he made use of a unique Object as a mobile ‘drop site’ for the valuable intelligence he was carrying.

The drop site is traveling from Moscow to England. Steele insists on completing the mission to honor the death of his friend, Gerry Cornell.

At an ultra-chic quasi-diplomatic gathering in a mansion in Windsor, England, Saber and Steele meet and find themselves faced with a powerful, undeniable attraction. But at the moment, this compelling attraction is very inconvenient.

In reality, they are at the mansion to check out the security arrangements — for their own reasons — to steal the Object, a Fabergé egg worth thirty million dollars. But who will get to the egg first?

Fabergé eggs are very famous for their unique surprises. Saber and Steele are about to be very surprised, indeed.

And when Saber clashes with Steele; more than sparks will explode!

I rated this book 5 *****’s 

This book is endless thrilling and oh the best

I enjoyed reading this book from the first page up to the end. It is so thrilling and oh the best action book I read so far this year. I loved how smart and so quick Saber is. This girl is the bomb. She is so amazing. I loved how talented and skillful she is. She is my favorite character and Steele too. These two are so insatiable for each other. Reading this book reminds of me a James Bond movie, full of actions and intense situation. The book is beyond amazing. The only thing I do not like it is…when Saber was young and her Dad did not stop that evil situation happened to her. I am so glad that she got her revenge.

If you love a suspense and mystery book that is full of action, this book is the best for me to recommend. The power of evil never last. Deception will never win.

To read more reviews, please visit the authors’ page on iRead Book Tours.

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Meet the Authors:

 

LESLEY MERYN
Enjoyed an exotic, adventure-filled childhood, following her anthropologist father and travel writer mother to the farthest corners of the world. She later took inspiration from her Aunt Sophia Francesca and became the author of romantic adventure novels. She alternates her time between Los Angeles, and a family property located in Yorkshire England.

ELLE BROOKES
She is the author of the first two books of the Time Frame Series, LUST. MECHANICS. MINI COOPER. and SEX. COFFEE. TIME TRAVEL. Loves travel, discovering new foods to try, reading and writing. She currently lives in the central highlands of Costa Rica with her dog Pixie and her hedgehog Quiller.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter

What advice would you give to budding writers?
Everyone has their own particular circumstances, their own styles, but the first thing that comes to mind is: Get it on the page! Things will change, the writing will change you, but Get It On The Page. It does not have to be perfect. You will be able to hone and finesse your writing in later drafts. This is why it is called a craft. Make sure you have trusted Alpha Readers, and a good Editor. Grammar is important. This is all pretty basic when it comes to writing, but unfortunately too many writers lose sight of this. Not a very exciting answer, but to me, these are important points. The truth of it is that good writing is hard work, and sometimes not very fun. But hopefully the results, for the reader, are an engaging book. Personally, I want to write a book that’s worthwhile and people will enjoy reading. To me that’s what counts.
In your book you make a reference to the SonicStar, how did you come up with this idea?
Part of my research process! The SonicStar does exist, it’s just not ready to be rolled out yet. Suborbital flight has been a goal for many years. I wish the Concorde was still flying They’re not quite the same, but I love the idea of supersonic flight.

What is your next project?
I’m drawing together the pieces of a new story about Saber and Steele. I really love these two characters, and the dynamic between them. There is more to their stories as people, how relationships are like mine-fields for both of them. Their desire to be with each other, but the issues they have trusting other people, and each other.

What genre do you write and why?
I love reading action-y romantic adventures, with a bit of humor. I thought it would be great fun to write one. So I did! I’m also a great reader of espionage novels. Adam Hall is one of my favorites. His Quiller series is amazing. I wanted to recreate the breathless intensity of his books but my main characters are very different from Mr. Hall’s. There is humor, but not much of it and it is the very dry British sort. However, I did name my hedgehog “Quiller.”

What is your writing schedule?
I do not have a set schedule, I write as the mood takes me. A better question might be what is a writing schedule? I was in Japan recently, having fun and doing research as well as writing. I’ve been spent a lot of time in trains, and managed to get some notes and scenes down. On my return flight (trans-Pacific) while the rest of the people on the plane were sleeping, I was writing away, trying to plot out an action scene for the next book. I may not be very disciplined in the way of many writers who have regular schedules, but I have an intense need to do what I do.

How do you do research for your books?
I’m very lucky in that I am able to travel a lot. I try to get to know as much as I can about the places I’ve written about. I was born and grew up in Los Angeles, traveled extensively in England and have had many “road trips” to Las Vegas. I want my reader to be able to get the “feel” of the places mentioned in the book. That is the fun part. I also do extensive online research and talk to the people who work in the areas I write about. I use everything that presents itself to me as research. I use life, experiences, the Internet, travel. I also do extensive reading on a variety of eclectic subjects. Some are papers that while public are not widely available. I also talk to a lot of people about aspects of their jobs and experiences. They decline to be mentioned in the acknowledgements, but are generous with their time, and I am thankful for their friendship and expertise.

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Beyond Love Book by D.D. Marx

Book Details:

Book Title: Beyond Love (Book #2)
Author: D.D. Marx
Category: Adult Fiction; 184 pages
Genre: Chick-Lit
Publisher: Beyond Dreams Publishing
Release date: November 2017
Tour dates: Oct 16 to Dec 22, 2017
Content Rating: PG 13 (Light sex scenes/not explicit; language (couple f bombs)

Book Description:

After trusting in her beloved friend Dan’s guidance from the beyond, Olivia is finally on the path to realizing her destiny. Staring at a blank canvas after ditching her raucous corporate life and meeting the love of her life, Finn McDaniels, a hot, widowed celebrity chef, she is ready to begin anew.

Arriving back in Chicago, she receives more frightening news further delaying her future journey with Finn. Unable to control the outcome, she begins questioning her trust and faith in Dan once again. She distracts herself the only way she knows how, by diving head first into a new project. What seemed like a time-killer may actually be the thing that saves her and catapults her into a world she never dreamed of.

When Olivia and Finn finally reunite, a looming secret is uncovered threatening to ruin the relationship she has waited for her entire life. Olivia is forced to decide whether to tell Finn or let it live in the past forever. Is their relationship strong enough to weather the storm or will it cause them to part ways for good?

I rated this book 5 *****’s 

This will gives you goose bumps

Beyond Love is the second book from the Beyond Series. Just like the first book of the series, Beyond Love gives you goose bumps. This book never stops giving me the chill. It is eerie but oh so good.

I love the wedding scenes. The view is just so beauitful.I am sure that I will loved it in person as I love living in the country side. Love that is second chance is must better especially when your friends from beyond is there to help you with your life and your relationship.

This book is beyond unbelievable. I loved every moment I spent reading this book. There are scenes that happened recently and reading it is a little scary.

I cannot wait to read the 3rd book of the series. Tragedy happened but if you surround yourselves with family and friends, in no time your life would be amazing.

 

To read more reviews, please visit D.D. Marx’s page on iRead Book Tours.

Buy Beyond Love:


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Meet the Author:
D.D. Marx is a contemporary romantic fiction writer and blogger, as well as a lover of all things social. She is a graduate of the University of Dayton, as well as the Second City program in Chicago, where she currently resides. A proud aunt and self-described hopeless romantic, Marx has always had a knack for humorous and engaging storytelling. Her pen name is a dedication to her beloved friend Dan, who continues to guide and inspire her in her daily life.Connect with the Author: Website  ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Pinterest

 

Where​ ​do​ ​you​ ​get​ ​inspiration​ ​for​ ​your​ ​stories?

I was always told that I had a knack for story-telling but I never pursued writing as a hobby until a few years ago.  I studied it in college then never really went back to it.  I got fired from my first job ever about five years ago. It was the worst experience of my life so I vowed to change my life. Couple that with the fact that I lost my best friend Dan in a car accident when we were twenty-three, I had this story inside of me that I felt compelled to share. This series is somewhat of a fictional autobiography. It’s fun to intermix reality with fiction and blur the lines a bit.  In terms of inspiration for characters, I can’t explain where it came from. Everything around you can be inspiring if you’re paying attention.

Do​ ​you​ ​have​ ​another​ ​profession​ ​besides​ ​writing?

I am a Senior Technology Project Manager by day.  I implement Microsoft Software within large corporations to help them create efficient and consistent business processes. It’s not glamorous but I feel very fortunate to work with extremely talented people that I like to not only consider colleagues but friends. They make the work fun.  This profession is what led me to writing. It’s unpredictable and volatile at times which makes for great content.   

There​ ​are​ ​many​ ​books​ ​out​ ​there​ ​about….What​ ​makes​ ​yours​ ​different?

I believe this series covers a topic that no one in the world escapes – death.  It’s a hard topic. A painful topic. Everyone has lost someone they love and has experienced grief in varying degrees.  I channeled my grief into this series.  The story blends real life experiences with fictional characters and events.  The goal was to have them so intertwined the reader can’t tell what’s true or not.  The question I get asked the most at Book Club events is – “was that true? Did this character really exist?” This dialogue helps to flesh out the parts of the story the reader connected with and helps me understand what they want to see more of in the future books.

What​ ​is​ ​your​ ​next​ ​project?

I am writing a follow up to this series called The Dan Diaries.  It will be the same story but told from my friend Dan’s perspective in Heaven. I’m excited to take liberties around where he is and what he is doing. He was a character in life so it will be wrapped in humor, I know that for sure.  It will feel great to feel so connected to him while I write it from that angle. I truly feel like he puts things in my path to spark inspiration.   

Where​ ​do​ ​you​ ​write? Do​ ​you​ ​write​ ​every​ ​day?

I write when I feel “in the zone”. It’s not daily. It goes in spurts when you feel inspired or motivated. It could be weekly or sometimes I put it away for a month or two and come back to it.  What I have learned is that no matter when I sit down to tell the story, it will come out the same way.  I’ve left the book sitting on a shelf for months and when I picked it back up again, I find many times that I’ll write the same exact paragraph over again. It’s when I am editing that I’ll catch it. It’s freaky.

If​ ​there​ ​is​ ​one​ ​thing​ ​you​ ​want​ ​readers​ ​to​ ​remember​ ​about​ ​you,​ ​what​ ​would​ ​it​ ​be?

That you are always connected to your loved ones once they’ve passed. You just need to be open to the signs. Follow your dreams and don’t ever give up on faith, hope and love.  

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Misadventures Of The First Daughter Book by Meredith Wild and Mia Michelle


Misadventures of the First Daughter
by 

Mia Michelle & Meredith Wild


Releases 30th October

#misadventuresofthefirstdaughterMisadventures Series

SYNOPSIS

Charlotte Daley is the daughter of the newly elected POTUS. An only child, shes both spoiled rotten and entirely neglected by her powerful family. Shes been forced to eat with the right forks, smile at all the right times, and be the picture of perfection for months. Now that her father is in office and too busy to know she exists, shes determined to exercise her new freedom before she heads back to college in New York.Ex-SEAL Zane Parker has one job

to protect the Presidents daughter, all day, every day. But shes been on a partying spree since the inauguration, heading down a dangerous path that threatens to ruin her reputation and cause a major scandal for her father. Zane will lose his job if he cant get her under control. Except he wants to sleep with her as badly as he wants to set her straight. She needs discipline. And he might be just the one to give it to her.When unexpected circumstances tie Charlotte to D.C. for the foreseeable future, Zane makes her an offer that

s anything but honorable. Hell give the first daughter all the thrills shes seeking in exchange for one thing… Her obedience. Fascinated by Zanes dark promises, Charlotte agrees. Submission has never felt so good. But as Zane brings her deeper into his forbidden desires, enemies surface and danger lurks.  

I rated this book 5 *****’s 

I never enjoyed the politics until this  
 
Though I hate the word politics, this book made it even better. My second book of the Misadventures series and my very first book of Mia Michelle to read.  
 
Charlotte gives you an eye’s view of what being First daughter is. This girl needs not only her independence but above all the time and love from her parents. She missed the parents’ love and am so glad that her bodyguard protects her. 
 
This book is a mixed of laugh out loud moments, danger, courage, and it is sizzling hot as well. Zane is one hunk bodyguard. He also can feed you not only with his mouth but he can cook. This book is suspense. Hold on to your e-reader because you are in for a bumpy ride with smooth landing at the end.  
 
Protection, friendship, courage, and independence is I what I loved reading this book. I am looking forward for the next book of the series.  

 

Amazon  http://amzn.to/2mlFSce 
Barnes & Noble  http://bit.ly/2sZmng2
MEET THE AUTHORS
Meredith Wild is a #1 New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of romance. Living on Florida’s Gulf Coast with her husband and three children, she refers to herself as a techie, whiskey-appreciator, and hopeless romantic. She has been featured on CBS This Morning, The Today Show, the New York TimesThe Hollywood ReporterPublishers Weekly, and The Examiner. When she isn’t living in the fantasy world of her characters, she can usually be found at:
Mia Michelle fell in love with the world of books the very first time she stepped inside of her small hometown library. Growing up, she loved to spend time losing herself in the world of make believe by creating her own imaginative stories. The gift of a leather journal for her eighth birthday inspired her dream of one day becoming a writer. Though she kept most of her writing private over the years, a childhood best friend read the first draft of Rose of Thorne and encouraged her to take the leap of faith to bring her dream to life.
Mia fully admits to having a hopeless infatuation with her Kindle, and suffers from a one-click book addiction. (No intervention required). When she isn’t shuttling her two kids between cheerleading and football practice, or folding a massive pile of laundry, she can be found curled up in her favorite cozy chair with a pen in one hand and an adult beverage in the other.
Mia currently resides in a quaint little southern town in Tennessee with her husband, two children, and fur baby.


First Crush, Last Love Book By Elizabeth McKenna

Book Details:

Book Title: First Crush, Last Love by Elizabeth McKenna
Category: Adult Fiction, 314 pages
Genre: Romance – Contemporary
Publisher: Elizabeth McKenna
Release date: Aug 1, 2017
Tour dates: Oct 16 to Nov 3, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (There are a few short, mild sex scenes – nothing too graphic. There is swearing by certain characters. Mature themes include drinking/alcoholism, verbal abuse with some physical pushing, AIDS (a minor character is gay), stalking, brief descriptions of child abuse by a step parent, and suicide attempt (overdose).

Book Description:

Remember your first crush? How your heart raced and your cheeks flushed whenever you saw him? Jessie Baxter does, and it’s happening again. Ten years ago, despite her best efforts, Lee Archer wanted to be just friends. Now, he wants more, but Jessie’s still recovering from a psycho ex-husband. Can she learn to trust again and make her first crush into her last love?

​Elizabeth McKenna’s latest novel will have you remembering the angst of high school, the grief of a failed relationship, and the happiness of true love.

I rated this book 5 *****’s 

I really enjoyed reading this book. Fate played the biggest role of this story. If a person is meant to be for you, whatever happened, your lives will rekindle again. This story is beautiful, emotional and some times I feel like I need to throw my Kindle to Jessie. She is beautiful but she is so weak especially fighting her husband Billy. He is such a jerk and hope that all men are not like him. He is such a manipulative and a piece of sh*t. I hate his character but I loved Jessie and Lee. The setting is very nice especially the beach. It is my favorite.   
  
This book is so inspirational. I am sure that many women can relate to Jessie’s character. We just need to defend ourselves and fight what is right for us as an individual or a wife. Abused women can relate from this story and a beautiful lesson to learn.   
  
Love is so powerful. You cannot stop your feelings when the right person comes along. You might forget but if destiny is yours, you cannot stop but to fall-in love all over again. This is a very sweet story, you will fall-in love but at the same time gets hurt and those high school memories of you were being crazy will makes you laugh out loud.

To read reviews, please visit Elizabeth McKenna’s page on iRead Book Tours.

Buy the Book:

 


 

 

 

Meet the Author:


Elizabeth McKenna works as a full-time technical writer/editor for a large software company. Though her love of books reaches back to her childhood, she had never read romance novels until one Christmas when her sister gave her the latest bestseller by Nora Roberts. She was hooked from page one (actually, she admits it was the first love scene).She had always wanted to write fiction, so she combined her love of history, romance and a happy ending to write Cera’s Place and Venice in the Moonlight. Her short story, The Gypsy Casts a Spell, is available for free on her site http://elizabethmckenna.com/. She hopes you will enjoy her first contemporary romance novel, First Crush Last Love, as much as others have enjoyed her historical romances.​Elizabeth lives in Wisconsin with her understanding husband, two beautiful daughters, and a sassy Labrador. When she isn’t writing, working, or being a mom, she’s sleeping.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram

  1. What genre do you write and why?

I write romance, though I used to sneer a bit at the genre when I was young and foolish. I was a Journalism major and English minor in college and oh so serious about my writing. After I lived several decades, I realized the world needs more love and happy endings. So, my first fiction book was a historical romance, because I love history as well as a HEA.

  1. Where do you get inspiration for your stories?

For my historical romances, I picked a time period and a place, and then read some history about the place. The plots evolved from there. For my contemporary romance, First Crush, a big chunk of it came from my real life, which made writing painful at times. It took me four years to finish, and there were several silent months along the way.

  1. If you could go back in time, where would you go?

Maybe the 1950s, but I would want to be Doris Day. The outfits she wore in her movies were gorgeous and romantic.

  1. Favorite dessert?

It used to be anything chocolate, but I’ve gone gluten free, which cuts out the majority of my favorite desserts. Now I order Crème Brulee.

  1. What’s the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?

I think it would be having children. I had a few traumatic babysitting gigs when I was a teenager and swore off having kids. When I found myself pregnant, I wasn’t so sure I could like, let alone love, a child. Luckily, when I first held Erin, my mama-bear instincts clicked and all was well. If I had succumbed to my fear, I would have missed out on all the joy my children have given me.

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Acquisition Book by Chelle Bliss



NOW AVAILABLE from USA Today bestselling author, Chelle Bliss, comes the Takeover Duet.


A ONE-NIGHT STAND WITH A HANDSOME STRANGER ​WASN’T A PROBLEM—UNTIL HE TRIED TO STEAL MY COMPANY.

ACQUISITION by Chelle Bliss
Takeover Duet Book #1

DOWNLOAD IT NOW!
A ONE-NIGHT STAND with a handsome stranger wasn’t a problem–until he tried to STEAL her company.
Ambitious, high-powered CEO Lauren Bradley is one press release away from catapulting her company to new heights.
Rival CEO, Antonio Forte is arrogant, controlling, and sexy.
She should know, since Antonio’s a one-night stand she thought she’d never see again.
Antonio wants to takeover more than her company, he wants her as part of the Acquisition.
Let the games begin…

Acquisition is the first book in the Takeover Duet.


I rated this book 5 *****’s 

Business rivals should be like this  
  
There is no doubt in my mind that if I read Ms. Chelle Bliss’ book and it must be good. This author whom I met in person six months ago seems surreal. Talking to her in person makes me even adore her as a bookworm fan.
 
Acquisition is one intense book of her to read. Lauren is so feisty, strong, independent and bloodily gorgeous. Business rivals should be like this. Antonio is her evil twin but deviously delicious rival.  
  
I loved the setting especially the beach. This tropical born woman is drooling while reading that specific chapter. Both Lauren and Antonio are deadly business rivals but their chemistry is sizzling hot like a 100 Fahrenheit degrees weather. This book is oh so good to read. It is powerful, intense, funny, hotness overload but above all suspense. I cannot wait to read the second book.    
  
I am looking forward for more of the real Lauren and Antonio. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chelle Bliss is the USA Today bestselling author of the Men of Inked and ALFA P.I. series. She hails from the Midwest, but currently lives near the beach even though she hates sand. She’s a full-time writer, time-waster extraordinaire, social media addict, coffee fiend, and ex high school history teacher. She loves spending time with her two cats, alpha boyfriend, and chatting with readers.


The Kitchen Mistress Book By Kathleen Shoop

NEW RELEASE…

For every woman who’s had to choose between the secrets that protect her and the people she loves the most…

1892—Des Moines

Katherine Arthur and her family are back and it’s time to collect the money Mrs. Mellet left them in her will. The tidy sum will allow the family peace of mind and a future that’s stable and fulfilling. But when things don’t go exactly as planned, Katherine steps up to do more than her share. Hired as a kitchen mistress, her intuition (with the help of a mysterious recipe book), cooking prowess, and work ethic make her the perfect partner for the enigmatic, wealthy woman next door. Then Aleksey Zurchenko arrives.

Violet Pendergrass is a well-heeled, progressive woman with half a fortune in one hand and a plan for enduring prosperity in the other. Resourceful, shrewd, and tough, Violet doesn’t realize her one and only weakness leaves her vulnerable as she attempts to solidify her independence. She sees unparalleled value in Katherine’s gifts and does her best to keep the girl close, to keep her true work secret from her mother and the world.

Katherine’s loyalties to her mother and Violet grow strained and soon her commitment to both frays even further as her feelings for Aleksey grow. Katherine must decide if pursuing her work with the formidable Violet and protecting her family are more important than following love. Can she do it all? Love, hope, joy, secrets buried in walls and hearts; all are threatened by those who claim to care about the Arthurs. Can Katherine separate what’s right and true from what it takes to survive? Are they even different things?

I rated this book 5 *****’s 

Life is about survival 
 
I loved reading Ms. Kathleen Shoop’s book. The Kitchen Mistress is another fantastic read from her. If you love reading historical romance, her books are delightful to read. 
 
I have never been to Des Moines, Iowa but maybe someday. Reading this book gives you perspective how life back then with Katherine and her family. It makes you think how blessed we are with our life. Life is about survival.  
 
The Kitchen Mistress is a very long book. The longest book I ever read as a bookworm so far. I enjoyed every chapters of this book. Life is too short to focus on your happiness. Katherine has no choice but to do the best to saved her family. She is one unselfish girl to let go of her own happiness but to help the family survives. I am sure many women and perhaps men will do that in real life as well.  
 
This book has the betrayal, hope and most of all the will to survive to help your family. Sometimes heart does not matter and being unselfish will makes you better as a person. I would do the same just like Katherine. This girl is beyond unbelievable and she is my favorite character of this book. 

The Last Letter Series of novels by Kathleen Shoop is set in the Midwest of America in the late 19th and early 20th century. Shoop takes readers on an emotional journey through love, loss and redemption. Inspired by family letters, the novels pull from historical events and places and feature the life and times of the fictional Arthur family as they make their way in the world.

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“Kathleen Shoop is a master of emotional depth and creativity.” – K.C.Finn, Readers’ Favorite Reviewer

“The Kitchen Mistress is a beautiful story beautifully told. Kathleen Shoop is a master storyteller with a great gift for the first-person narrative, a voice she harnesses so well to create a dramatic effect on readers… One of the things I enjoyed about Shoop’s writing is her mastery of the conflict. It is introduced very early in the narrative and it escalates pretty fast. I read the story nonstop, waiting eagerly for the satisfying denouement.” — Romuald Dzemo for Readers’ Favorite

“The Kitchen Mistress is a beguiling story, with characters that feel so real the reader could almost believe they walk the same road with them. The protagonist has a complex world to navigate and it is interesting to see how she deals with her secrets, faces the challenges of her relationships and her work, and how she connects to herself. The Kitchen Mistress is delicately written, with a beautifully imagined plot, great prose, and memorable characters. I was seduced by the expert writing and could not stop reading until the last page.” — Arya Fomonyuy for Readers’ Favorite

Letter Series Book 1 – The Last Letter
Katherine wouldn’t have believed it if she hadn’t found the letter…

In the summer of 1905 Katherine Arthur’s mother arrives on her doorstep, dying, forcing her to relive a past she wanted to forget. When Katherine was young, the Arthur family had been affluent city dwellers until shame sent them running for the prairie, into the unknown. Taking her family, including young Katherine, to live off the land was the last thing Jeanie Arthur had wanted, but she would do her best to make a go of it. For Jeanie’s husband Frank it had been a world of opportunity. Dreaming, lazy Frank. But, it was a society of uncertainty–a domain of natural disasters, temptation, hatred, even death.

Ten-year-old Katherine had loved her mother fiercely, put her trust in her completely, but when there was no other choice, and Jeanie resorted to extreme measures on the prairie to save her family, she tore Katherine’s world apart. Now, seventeen years later, and far from the homestead, Katherine has found the truth – she has discovered the last letter. After years of anger, can Katherine find it in her heart to understand why her mother made the decisions that changed them all? Can she forgive and finally begin to heal before it’s too late?

**Independent Publisher Awards**

2011 Gold Medal, Best Regional Fiction-Midwest

**National Indie Excellence Book Awards**

2011 Finalist Award-Historical Fiction
2011 Finalist Award-Regional Fiction

**USA Best Books 2011 Awards**

Winner, Fiction–Western
Finalist, Fiction–Historical
Finalist, Best New Fiction

**International Book Awards**

2011 Finalist Award-Historical Fiction
2011 Finalist Award-Best New Fiction

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Letter Series Book 2 – The Road Home
Find your way home…

1891—Living separately for three years, fourteen-year-old twins, Katherine and Tommy Arthur, have done their best to make each boarding house feel like home. But unrest grows as they are driven to questionable actions just to survive. Meanwhile their desperate mother is confronted with breaking yet another promise to her children. Then a miracle descends. Hope rises on a cold, rainy night and changes everything. If Jeanie could just get word to Katherine and Tommy, she knows she can set their lives right again. Agitators, angels, and dangerous “saviors” illuminate the Arthurs’ unmatched determination and smarts.

1905—Though she tries to forget the awful years that hurt so much, the memories still haunt Katherine. Now, tearful mourners at her mother’s funeral force her to revisit a time in her life that both harmed and saved her in the most unexpected ways. Tommy grieves his mother’s passing as well. He too is thrust backward, compelled to rediscover the events in his life that shaped the man he has become. Will he commit to reconstructing his broken life? The Arthurs come to understand that forgiveness is the only way back to hope, the only way to find all that was good in the misfortune that transformed their lives forever.

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The Family Letters
Luckily for author Kathleen Shoop, her ancestors kept hold of letters that are now between 100 and 120 years old. The first set of letters was handed down to Shoop from her mother. They appear in the collection called My Dear Frank. They are sweet and hopeful love letters written to Frank Arthur from his then-fiancé, Jeanie Scouller. My Dear Frank only contains Jeanie’s letters to Frank, as his were lost or destroyed at some point. However, for readers who love to bask in the past, Jeanie’s letters make it easy to understand much of what Frank had said, as she responds as quickly as she possibly could. (Read more about My Dear Frank.)

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The second set of letters, Love From Mama, was written in the early 20th century. This collection is larger than the love letters as it contains correspondence by Jeanie, Frank, her children, some friends and also relatives. This non-fiction look into the past is a treasure for anyone who loves history in its raw, but real form! (Coming Soon)

About Kathleen Shoop
Bestselling author, Kathleen Shoop, holds a PhD in reading education and has more than 20 years of experience in the classroom. She writes historical fiction, women’s fiction and romance. Shoop’s novels have garnered various awards in the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY), Eric Hoffer Book Awards, Indie Excellence Awards, Next Generation Indie Book Awards, Readers’ Favorite and the San Francisco Book Festival. Kathleen has been featured in USA Today and the Writer’s Guide to 2013. Her work has appeared in The Tribune-Review, four Chicken Soup for the Soul books and Pittsburgh Parent magazine. Kathleen coordinates Mindful Writing Retreats and is a regular presenter at conferences for writers.

I adore writing historical fiction (The Letter series, After the Fog and Donora Stories that are coming soon!) but am having a blast writing romance like Home Again, Return to Love and Tending Her Heart (Endless Love series). Thank you so much for the time you take to read.

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Thrill Of Love Book By Melissa Foster

NEW RELEASE……..

The Bradens are a series of sexy stand-alone romances bursting with rich family ties and everlasting love. These hot contemporary love stories feature alpha male heroes and sexy, empowered women. They’re flawed, funny, passionate, and relatable to readers who enjoy contemporary and new adult romance, and women’s fiction.

Discover the magic of New York Times bestseller Melissa Foster’s writing, and see why millions of readers have fallen in love with the Bradens.

Fall in love with Ty Braden and Aiyla Bell in this epic love story. Fate brings them together, but will tragedy tear them apart?

Do you believe in fate?

World-renowned mountain climber and nature photographer Ty Braden never believed in second dates, much less heart-pounding, steal-his-breath love. But that was before a trip to Saint-Luc, where he met funny, strong, and entrancingly beautiful Aiyla Bell, a ski instructor and fellow photographer whose hopes and dreams, and love of the outdoors, aligned perfectly with his–and whose kisses alone turned him inside out.

After spending five magical days and four sweet, soulful nights falling in love, Aiyla couldn’t imagine a day without Ty. But when he asked her to go with him on his next assignment, his reputation for having women at his beck and call stopped her from upending the life she’d worked so hard to create.

Months later fate steps in when a chance encounter brings Ty and Aiyla together for a five-day wilderness event held in the Colorado Mountains. Their deep, passionate connection is stronger than ever, and Ty is bound and determined not to lose her again. But when tragedy strikes and their worlds are turned upside down, their love faces the truest test of all.

THRILL OF LOVE is part of the Love in Bloom series. While this can be read as a stand-alone novel, for even more reading enjoyment you may want to read the entire Love in Bloom series in series order.

**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**

I rated this book 5 *****’s

What happened when fate,destiny turned into tragedy? 
 
Can you survived when that happened to your loved-one? I know Ty and Aiyla did. Their love story is so much fun to read. Aside from hotness overload though the crisp of autumn is in the corner, Ty and Aiyla will keep your flames alive. 
 
I super loved the setting of this book. The mountains with fresh air plus you get the amazing views surrounded you is my kind of life. I could click so many photos. 
 
Ty and Aiyla’s upbringings are way different from each other but both family oriented which I adore them both. This book is not only full of romance but laughter as well and most of all tear-jerker scenes.  It will break your heart.  
 
Do you believe in fate or destiny? I know I am. If you were meant to be, you will be despite the distance. Thrill of Love is another book of Ms. Melissa Foster that I enjoyed reading.

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Also Available
Healed by Love (Love in Bloom, The Bradens of Peaceful Harbor #1)
Nate Braden has loved his best friend’s younger sister Jewel for as long as he can remember, but between their age difference and his respect for Rick, he’s always kept his feelings at bay. Now he’s back in Peaceful Harbor, and Jewel is no longer sixteen years old—but there’s an even bigger obstacle standing in his way. Nate and Rick joined the military together eight years earlier. Nate came home a hero, but Rick didn’t make it out alive.

HEALED BY LOVE is part of the Love in Bloom series. While this can be read as a stand-alone novel, for even more reading enjoyment you may want to read the entire Love in Bloom series in series order.

**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**

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Surrender My Love (Love in Bloom, The Bradens of Peaceful Harbor #2)
Annalise “Leesa” Avalon never realized that one sentence could change her life until one of her students revealed his crush–and within twenty-four hours she finds herself under fire. After a grueling investigation that turns her life upside down, she steals away to Peaceful Harbor, Maryland, with a new identity to try to pull herself back together and figure out her next step.

From the outside, Cole Braden lives a charmed life. He’s a top orthopedic surgeon with a thriving practice, strong family ties, and friends he adores. But there’s a lonely spot inside Cole that no one can see. He has an enormous heart–and a painful past–but the desire to love and be loved is too strong to ignore.

A chance encounter brings Leesa and Cole together, and the attraction is immediate and intense. But a relationship is the last thing Leesa needs–and the only thing Cole wants. Long talks, heated moments, and deep connections are hard to resist, but the harder Cole tries, the more Leesa pulls away. Cole might truly be the right man for Leesa, but is Leesa the right woman for him?

SURRENDER MY LOVE is part of the Love in Bloom series. While this can be read as a stand-alone novel, for even more reading enjoyment you may want to read the entire Love in Bloom series in series order.

**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**

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River of Love Book (Love in Bloom, The Bradens of Peaceful Harbor #3)
River rafting and adventure company owner Sam Braden works hard and plays harder. He’s fast, focused, and determined—and never at a loss for a willing woman to share his time with. The trouble is, the only woman he wants refuses him at every turn.

Physician assistant Faith Hayes escaped her painful past and built a safe, happy life in Peaceful Harbor. She’s also put what she’s learned to good use helping others by founding Women Against Cheaters, an online support group. When her boss’s sinfully sexy brother sets his sights on sweet Faith, she knows the self-professed player is everything she shouldn’t want, and she’s determined to resist him.

Sam pulls out all the stops, proving to Faith that his past doesn’t have to define his future. As she lets down her guard and begins to trust Sam, intense conversations turn to intimate pleasures. But when real life steps in and their pasts collide, it’s Faith who’s left with something to prove.

RIVER OF LOVE is part of the Love in Bloom series. While this can be read as a stand-alone novel, for even more reading enjoyment you may want to read the entire Love in Bloom series in series order.

**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**

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Crushing on Love Book (Love in Bloom, The Bradens of Peaceful Harbor #4)
Steve Johnson is living his life’s passion watching over the Colorado Mountains as a ranger and wildlife consultant. But his peaceful life is upended when overzealous and insanely beautiful Shannon Braden flits back into his life after returning from a brief trip home to Maryland. He thought his attraction to her was under control—after all, she’s only in Colorado temporarily, and he doesn’t do casual affairs.

Shannon’s return to Colorado has as much to do with the game of cat and mouse she and Steve have been playing as it does the data she’s been hired to collect. But despite her efforts to explore the undeniable heat simmering between them, Steve’s intent on keeping his distance.

When a ranch abutting the national park goes up for sale, Steve will do whatever it takes to keep it from falling into the wrong hands. And when all his attempts fail, he’s left with no alternative but to follow Shannon’s guidance into the online world he abhors in order to raise the funds. The more time they spend together, the deeper their attraction becomes, and a game of cat and mouse turns into an unstoppable connection. But when Shannon’s assignment comes to an end, will it mean an end to them, too?

CRUSHING ON LOVE is part of the Love in Bloom series. While this can be read as a stand-alone novel, for even more reading enjoyment you may want to read the entire Love in Bloom series in series order.

**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**

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Whisper of Love Book (Love in Bloom, The Bradens of Peaceful Harbor #5)
Tempest Braden adores her family and her small hometown, but sometimes too much of a good thing can be confining. At almost thirty, having watched most of her siblings find true love, she’s anxious to experience her own happily ever after, and the move to Pleasant Hill, Maryland, is just the change she needs. When she rents a room from ruggedly handsome, and closed-off, artist Nash Morgan and his adorable son, Phillip, she thinks she’s found a little slice of heaven on the outskirts of town, where she can concentrate on building her business. That is, if she can ignore the undeniable heat between her and the sinfully hot single father.

When Nash bought his farmette, he had one goal in mind—to provide a loving, stable home for his son. He never imagined he’d be raising Phillip alone, or renting out a room to keep their heads above water. Then again, he never imagined losing his brother, or spending two years sailing around the world with parents who seemed to forget one son was still alive.

Sparks fly from the moment Tempest moves in, and her positive energy and inquisitive nature brings new life into Nash and Phillip’s quiet, confined world. For the first time in years, Nash wants to let a woman into his world, but while his loss made him stronger, that strength came at a price, leaving him walled off and wary of opening his heart again.

WHISPER OF LOVE is part of the Love in Bloom series. While this can be read as a stand-alone novel, for even more reading enjoyment you may want to read the entire Love in Bloom series in series order.

**CONTENT WARNING: Due to mature content, recommended for readers aged 18+**

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About the author
Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance, new adult romance (M/F, M/M, F/F), romantic suspense, thrillers, and historical fiction with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented. Her books have been recommended by USA Today’s book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the World Literary Café. When she’s not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on Fostering Success.

Melissa has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Her interests include her family, reading, writing, painting, friends, helping others see the positive side of life, and visiting Cape Cod.

Melissa is available to chat with book clubs and welcomes comments and emails from her readers. Visit Melissa on Facebook or her personal website.

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The Last Suttee Book by Madhu Wangu

NEW RELEASE…

“You must come at once if you want to stop the suttee from happening again…” This phone message summons Kumud Kuthiyala back to Neela Nagar, the blue town of her youth, and the shackled life she thought she had left behind forever…

As a nine-year-old, Kumud witnessed the brutal and horrifying suttee ritual when her beloved aunt immolated herself on the burning pyre of her dead husband. Years later, Kumud summoned the courage to escape the isolated and primitive town of her youth to start a new life in Ambayu, a metropolitan city. She began as office help at Save Girls Soul Orphanage Center and progressed to become its director. At SGSO Center, she becomes a warrior for women’s education and equal rights. She teaches young women to protect themselves from outmoded practices and rituals that victimize women.

Then a phone call informs Kumud that the suttee of a sixteen-year-old is inevitable. She has vowed that she will never let it happen again. Still haunted by her aunt’s suttee, she leaves everything behind, including her love, Shekhar Roy, to end the barbaric custom that scarred her for life, and to save the young bride from committing suttee.

As Kumud travels back to the town of her youth, long-buried memories resurface and force her to remember the life from which she fled. The town that greets her is full of contradictions. It has electricity and clean water, and a new school is open to low castes, yet superstition and prejudice abound. How can she convince the town that their centuries-old tradition is cruel and barbaric, that a widowed young woman deserves the right to live? Can she change the minds of the townspeople and the Five Elders before it’s too late?

I rated this book 5 *****’s

I have not been in India but it is only six hours and 30 minutes by plane from my native country the Philippines. Indian people especially their women are beyond gorgeous. I always adore if I see one walking

I enjoyed reading this book. It is very informative and educational. I loved the setting. From the train ride to riding a taxi, though I have not ride a train yet. The views I can picture is just like the Philippines. I have many superstitious beliefs but some I followed until but some I do not. It is a matter of what you believe and sometimes it does not hurt to follow certain traditions.

Reading the Last Suttee is mesmerizing for me. It is even suspense especially at the last few chapters left. It is emotional. Though this book is fictional, I know women will enjoy and learned so many things from this book. The dowry reminded me of my half-sisters, am so glad that they left that places and moved on with their own life away from that place where their Dad lives. The Last Suttee is such a powerful book to read. Kumud is my favorite character. This woman is beyond inspirational. She is powerful and has a beautiful heart inside and out.

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“A stunning story of one woman’s struggle to stop the ritual of suttee. The novel weaves centuries old traditions with the stark march toward twenty-first century. It progresses with surprising plot twists, a ticking clock, and stubborn and powerful antagonist who challenges the protagonist, Kumud, to stand up to the orthodox and close-minded community”  – Bestselling author, Kathleen Shoop 

Read an excerpt HERE

About the author
An author, artist, world-traveler and the founder of the Mindful Writers Group, Madhu Bazaz Wangu was a professor of arts and religions of India before becoming a full time writer. She has a doctorate in the Phenomenology of Religions from the University of Pittsburgh and a post-doctoral fellowship from the Harvard University. For twenty-five years, she taught at the University of Pittsburgh and Chatham College in Pennsylvania, Wellesley and Wheaton Colleges in Massachusetts, and Rhode Island College.

In 1997, Dr. Wangu voyaged around the world with students and faculty members from various American Universities for the Semester-at-Sea program. She loved the experience so much that each year she has been revisiting places of historical significance in different countries, observing the cultures, meeting the people and enjoying their cuisine.

In 2010, she founded the Mindful Writers Group, and in 2015 started a second one. She encourages writers of all levels and genres to delve deeper in their work by body-mind-heart meditation. Her CD, Meditations for Mindful Writers was released in 2011. She guides writers in meditation and writing marathons. Twice each year, Mindful Writers Groups gather for writing retreats. There, surrounded by nature, they practice sitting and walking meditations in-between long writing sessions.

Madhu B. Wangu has published numerous essays and four books on Hindu and Buddhist goddesses and Indian religions. She has held five one-person art exhibitions in India and US. Her collection, Chance Meetings: Stories About Cross-Cultural Collisions and Compassion, was published in 2015 and her debut novel, The Immigrant Wife: Her Spiritual Journey, in 2016. Currently, she is writing her second novel, The Last Suttee and a guidebook for mindful writing.

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Why I Wrote the Novel, THE LAST SUTTEE

On the morning of September 5, 1987, I was going through the Hillman Library card catalogue at the University of Pittsburgh when a friend stopped by. She told me something I would never forget. She said that an eighteen-year-old Indian woman, named Roop Kanwar, had immolated herself on the pyre of her dead husband. I was dumbfounded. Suttee in the twentieth century? It couldn’t be. But The New York Times confirmed the news. The ritual, known as suttee, was witnessed by the townspeople and thousands more came to see it from nearby villages and towns. When the news was leaked the following day, the town was swarmed for days by Indian and international journalists. I was stunned and speechless, my legs laden with lead. At that frozen moment, the seed for this book was planted.

The kernel stayed dormant, but the incident continued to sear like a wound at the back of my mind. The distress was raw, but I was not yet emotionally ready to write about what had happened and how it had affected me. In the ensuing years, I trawled libraries, bookstores, and the Internet, learning about the history of suttee and the cultural and religious traditions in which it is rooted. I studied records of the shrines dedicated to women who had committed suttee. I read the history and mythology of the namesake goddess, spelled Sati. Critically and carefully I analyzed the photographs of Sati temples and studied the engravings, drawings, and paintings of the goddess Sati and the suttee ritual that had been made by British, European, and Indian artists and travelers.

Suttee is a centuries-old Hindu ritual. This ancient belief still persists in some remote corners in India. The belief is if a widow cremates herself with her dead husband, the couple will live in heaven as they did on earth. Furthermore, such a sacrifice guarantees a place in heaven for seven generations for both sides of the family.

The ritual is rooted in the myths of two goddesses: Sati, Shiva’s wife, and Sita, Rama’s wife. Here are summaries of the myths:

Goddess Sati is the daughter of the high priest Daksha. Shiva, the world renouncer, is so awed by her yogic skills and asceticism that he grants her a boon. Sati asks to marry him. He agrees. Daksha dislikes Shiva. He finds Shiva unconventional and unkempt. Despite her father’s opposition Sati marries Shiva and they live in his mountain abode in Himalayas. 

Daksha plans a great sacrifice. He invites all the important divine beings, except Shiva. Sati feels disgraced by the way in which her father has treated her husband. On the day of the great sacrifice, she throws herself in the fire pit meant for the sacrifice. And burns herself to death. When Shiva discovers what has happened to his wife, he is outraged. He pulls out Sati’s half-burnt body, holds it on his shoulders, and in anguish and lamentations whirls around the world. 

Goddess Sita is an ideal Hindu wife. Her husband, Rama, is the center of her life. His welfare, reputation, and wishes are most important to her. One day, the demon king Ravana abducts her and takes her to his golden palace. He lies to her that he has killed Rama. Sita is horrified. She moans and tells him that it must have been her fault that her husband was killed. She warns Ravana she could burn him to ashes with the fire of her chastity, but she won’t because she did not have her husband’s permission. 

In the end, Rama defeats Ravana and brings Sita home. There he severely tests her loyalty because she has spent days under the control of another man. Sita is shocked at such an accusation. She protests her innocence. She says she has remained wholly devoted and completely faithful to him. Rama persists. 

Grieved by his false accusation, Sita asks for a funeral pyre to prove her innocence. A pyre is built, and Sita stands atop it with hands folded. Agni, the god of fire, refuses to harm her because she is innocent and pure. She returns to Rama unscathed. Yet he banishes her to a forest. 

Sati and Sita are faithful and chaste wives, and they are devoted to their husbands. The lives of these goddesses are defined by their husbands. Although their dedication and chastity are exemplary, they pay a heavy price for being wives. In both myths, fire plays an important role. Whereas Sati voluntarily kills herself, Sita is saved by Agni. Their god/husbands are alive when the women jump into the sacrificial pit or on the funeral pyre. But ordinary women’s lives are no myths. When a woman is forced into being a suttee, neither her husband nor the god of fire will save her.

The suttee ritual was outlawed by British Raj in 1829. The ritual was described as “heinous rite” when cases surfaced about widows being tied to their husband’s pyre even after being intoxicated with bhang or opium. Many reports of widows escaping and being rescued by strangers were also recorded. Still, more than a century later, scattered instances of the custom have been reported, such as Savitri Soni’s in 1973 and Charan Shah’s in 1999.

The most notorious and controversial case, however, was of Roop Kanwar. Indian people either publicly defended Roop’s action or declared that she had been murdered. Following the outcry that followed Roop Kanwar’s suttee, the government of India enacted the Rajasthan Sati Prevention Ordinance on October 1, 1987. The law makes it not only illegal to commit suttee but also illegal to glorify the ritual or coerce a woman to commit suttee. Glorification includes erecting a shrine to honor the dead woman or converting the place where immolation took place into a pilgrimage site. Derivation of any income from such activities is also banned. The law makes no distinction between a passive observer and an active promoter. Everyone is held equally guilty.

The seed for writing a book inspired by Roop Kanwar’s suttee finally sprouted in November 2009, when I wrote its first draft as part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), a nonprofit internet organization that supports writers in an effort to complete the initial draft of a novel in one month.

It would take me seven more years to finalize the draft.

The story continued to incubate. I developed the characters, sketched the settings, wrote the narrative and dialogue. But to birth a healthy novel and bring it to life, I had to experience the environment in which Roop Kanwar was born, lived, and died. I needed to converse with the people who allowed it to happen. I wanted to know the antagonist and protagonist’s viewpoints.

I visited India for a month in 2013 for that purpose. I went to the small towns of Deorala, where Roop Kanwar committed suttee, and Jhunjhunu, home of an imposing marble temple dedicated to faithful women who sacrifice their young lives immediately after their husbands’ deaths. The visit stirred feelings of remorse and wonder. Why did people celebrate sacrificial death? How does blind faith hide behind the stunning structure? Domestic and temple architecture, middle and high schools, ancient mansions with bedroom walls made of mirror-mosaics (some now converted to five-star hotels) were breathtakingly beautiful. The local flora and fauna were intriguing, and men and women’s attire colorful. I fell in love with the place. But I wasn’t there as a tourist. I was there to fulfill a quest, to do something about an event that jolted the core of my being.

Meeting with the people of Deorala opened my mind to the fact that a community’s worldview can be so different from my own. Yet my sorrow and awe about Roop Kanwar and my feelings about other widows like her were not alleviated by talking to Roop’s father-in-law, her brother-in-law and his wife, or their neighbors. Nor did I blame them after visiting her neglected and unkempt suttee site. However, the visit helped me better understand the point of view of the town residents. A magnificent temple dedicated to the goddess Sati, which locals honor and regard highly, further clarified their worldview.

My interview with Roop Kanwar’s father-in-law took place in the verandah outside the room where Roop lived with her husband. This was the room where she dressed herself in bridal attire and decked herself in jewelry before following her husband’s dead body to the cremation site. The room has been turned into a shrine, and Roop has become an ishtadevi, a manifestation of Narayani Satimata, a local goddess higher in the pantheon of the thousands of village goddesses of India.

When I asked to go to where Roop performed suttee, her father-in-law declined to walk along, but he did ask other men to take me there. I treaded the path that evidently Roop Kanwar, most probably intoxicated with bhang, walked with the help of two women. They followed her husband’s litter, which four male relatives carried. I was told a lamenting crowd of men, women, and children followed the dead body and Roop as they headed toward her husband’s funeral pyre.

Facing the desolate ground where the ritual had taken place twenty-six years earlier, I shed tears of pain for an eighteen-year-old who didn’t know better, and who no one came to rescue.

The characters in this novel are fictional, but the setting is historic. Writing it does not feel like redemption, for I still ache for the women of the world who are engulfed in outmoded traditions, who are uneducated and dependent. Women with so much potential to offer their families, their communities, and, most importantly, to themselves.

Undoubtedly, the world over, women have made tremendous progress. Yet, the path to elevating women’s social status has many roadblocks, and the process is slow. I sincerely hope The Last Suttee not only helps remove a block or two but also adds substance to the process of change.

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The Choices I’ve Made Book by J.L. Berg

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The Choices I’ve Made by J.L. Berg is available NOW!

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The Choices I’ve Made by J.L. Berg

Release Date: October 1st
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Death is easy.

Surviving it? That’s the hard part.

Dr. Jake Jameson knows this all too well. Losing his mother at the age of eighteen, he walks away from his small hometown and the painful memories it holds, vowing to never return again.

Twelve years later, he finds himself driving back down the coast of North Carolina. When his father leaves him a small medical practice, he has no choice but to heed the call until he can find someone else to take it off his hands.

But coming back home means facing everything he left behind, including the one woman who might make it impossible to leave again.

Molly McIntyre has spent her entire life in one town. Taking over her parents’ small inn, she’s settled into a quiet, happy life. But all of that comes to an abrupt halt when Jake shows up at her door in need of a place to stay.

Molly loathes everything about this man, but she can’t find it in her heart to refuse his request.

After over a decade, these former lovers quickly discover what once burned brightly between them has only grown in their time apart. Soon they must decide if the choices they’ve made have led them back to each other for a second chance or one final goodbye.

Excerpt:

After two glasses of wine and an hour of feeling sorry for myself, I decided I’d had enough self-pity for one day. Rising from my cozy chair, I took one last look at the sparkling water as the moon rose high in the sky. How one could ever get used to a view like that, I’d never know. I’d been raised in this house, and still, it never ceased to take my breath away.

After a quick stop by the kitchen sink to rinse out my glass, I headed to the large pantry, deciding I needed a little baking therapy to pass the time. Although the Lovells had offered to take care of their own meals since I comped the room, I decided to treat them for their help over the last week.

As much as I hated to admit it, I couldn’t have done it all without them.

Grabbing flour, sugar, and a few more items, I settled on a family favorite recipe—zucchini bread. I’d added my own little flair to it over the years, but the basic recipe was still the same.

There was something almost restorative about the process of mixing ingredients. With no need for a recipe anymore, I found myself humming a song I’d heard on the radio earlier in the day, and my mood began to lift.

That was, until the doorbell rang.

Wiping my hands on a dish towel, I checked my appearance in the hallway mirror, rolling my eyes at the flour that coated my cheeks.

My mom always said I was a messy baker. I guessed some things never changed.

Putting on my best face possible, I prepared myself, morphing into the hostess with the mostest. It didn’t always happen, but every now and again, I’d have unexpected visitors. People who’d missed the last ferry and were in desperate need for a place to stay or others who had just fallen in love and didn’t want to leave.

In every case, I always found a place for them, sometimes even giving up my own rooms to accommodate them. Pulling open the door, I greeted the late-night visitor with a bright smile. But, the moment I saw his face, that familiar rugged jaw and piercing blue eyes, my smile faded into something less than pleasing.

“What are you doing here, Jake?” I nearly snarled.

“Is that any way to greet a guest?” he replied sluggishly. He was clearly drunk.

“Did you drive here in that state?” I asked, looking over his shoulder to make sure a car wasn’t wrapped around the neighbor’s tree.

“No,” he answered. “Waited until I was parked outside before I popped open the bourbon. Did you know, if you park right there”—he pointed behind him, making his sloppy posture even worse—“you can see the backyard? You still like to sit out on the deck, huh?”

My cheeks heated with anger as I realized my private moment of sulking had been witnessed by none other than hotshot Jake Jameson. I sighed, noticing the way his eyes followed mine.

“What do you want?” I finally asked, averting his gaze.

“I’m a wayward tourist in need of a place to stay.”

My arms folded across my chest as he made himself at home, breezing past me to stumble into the sitting room. His large body seemed to melt into the couch as I tried not to think about all the things we’d done in this room while my parents were out of the house.

“You have a place to stay, Jake,” I reminded him. “And, no matter how much you try to convince yourself, you’re no tourist. Not even a fancy degree could change that twang in your voice.”

He laughed, a sound that made my spine tingle. “You’re right. I can’t seem to shake it. But it does do me some favors every now and then.” He gave me a quick grin and a wink, causing me to nearly spit fire.

The idea of him using his stupid accent to get women into bed—it shouldn’t have affected me so, but it did.

It really did.

“Look,” I said, feeling my never-ending river of patience suddenly drying up, “it’s late, and I know you’ve had a rough day, but—”

“I tried, Molly. God, how I tried.”

“Tried what?” I asked, pinching the bridge of my nose.

“I tried to forget you. But I never could. I tried to forget this place and all it represented, but the memories never faded. You never faded.”

My heart galloped a little faster, but luckily my anger won the race. “You’ve got to go, Jake. You can’t stay here.”

“But I can’t go back there, Mols. I can’t go back to that house. There are too many ghosts. Too many memories. It hurts.”

The way he’d said it reminded me of the scared boy I’d once held in my arms as he wept for his mother. It tugged at the few remaining heartstrings I had for this man, and suddenly, I found myself caving.

“Fine.”

He instantly perked up, turning his head, as his bright blue eyes found mine again.

“But you will pay double, and don’t expect any special treatment.”

He nodded as he tried to stand, swaying back and forth. I ran forward, keeping him from crashing into my antique coffee table. The generosity I’d felt just moments before was already starting to bite me in the ass.

“Got it,” he said as my hands wrapped around his muscled biceps. That intense stare of his was back as his fingers found mine. “You won’t even know I’m here,” he whispered, the smell of bourbon on his breath.

“Highly unlikely,” I grumbled, pulling my hand from his. The heat of it remained, like a brand against my skin. “Now, you can take the—”

“Yellow room,” he said, finishing my sentence.

It had always been a favorite of his. Mine, too.

“Fine,” I replied, trying to seem unaffected by his demand. “I assume you still remember the way?”

He held up his palm in front of his face. “Like the back of my hand.”

“That’s the front, Doctor.”

He laughed, sounding drunker than I’d ever seen him. “Right.” Taking a few steps forward, his body brushed against mine. “I like it when you call me doctor.”

I took a deep breath, putting some much-needed space between us.

“You would. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have bread to bake.”

“Bread!” he nearly shouted before chuckling under his breath. He said in a hushed tone, “I love bread.”

“Go to bed, Jake.”

“You first.”

Those two words were like a cold bucket of water. His gaze suddenly sharpened as a tingle went down my spine. Both of us knew he wasn’t talking about sleeping, and for a moment, I let him know it.

No eye roll or quick-witted comeback. I just stood there, letting myself indulge in a single moment that signified a lifetime of memories.

And then the jerk threw up on my shoes.

I rated this book 5 *****’s 

Superstitious or Destiny  
 
My very first book of the author that I read. I really enjoyed reading this book. Second chance of romances sometimes happen for a reason. Sometimes it does not work and sometimes it worked. 
 
Love is better the second time around for Jake and Molly. Sometimes you can hide but you cannot deny the attractions between these two. They are meant for each other despite how the time flies between these two.  
 
Is it superstitious or destiny for the two of them are for you to find out. This book is funny too. It is also emotional and hotness overload.  
 
I loved the setting and definitely my favorite characters are Jake and Molly. Their love story is one of a kind. It was a young but true love.   

TCIM-AN
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About the Author:

I’m a California native, who lives in the South – Virginia to be exact. I still prefer sushi to fried chicken, avocados to okra, and I absolutely loathe humidity. I do love watching the seasons change though. My husband and I have been here for over a decade, and I still get giddy like a school girl every time it snows. It’s magical!

I’m married to my high school sweetheart, and we’ve been blessed with two beautiful daughters and two rescue pups I like to call my “coworkers”. I’m obsessed with chocolate, minions, anything Harry Potter and I love to watch re-runs of Friends and Gilmore Girls!

JLBERG

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

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