Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Book Spotlight: The Sum of our Sorrows by Lisette Brodey

I recently read a new release by author Lisette Brodey, The Sum of our Sorrows. It was an incredible book in so many ways. As the title suggests, it was an emotional read.

Before I share my review for this story, here is the blurb:

In an idyllic suburb in Northern California, tragedy strikes the Sheppard family when Abby, the mother of three daughters and wife to Dalton, is killed in a car accident. Charlotte, the middle daughter, is in the car with her mother and survives without physical injury but remains scarred on the inside.

Dalton tells Lily, his eldest daughter, that she must sacrifice long-awaited college plans and put her life on hold to take care of her sisters. Lily is torn between her devotion to family and an increasing need to find her place in the world -- but how can she leave, knowing her family may crumble? Will her presence eventually cause more problems than it solves?

The Sum of our Sorrows reveals how the aftermath of a family tragedy can precipitate sorrows never imagined. It is a tale of grief, hope, healing, coming-of-age, friendship, and survival. It is also a love story of two broken souls living through pain in search of better days and the renewal of one's spirit.

Now for my review:

Grief is a powerful emotion that grips your heart and won't let go. When you add adult responsibility to a teenage girl that has just lost her mother, that's where Lily's story begins. With no time to process her pain, Lily is thrown into the role of 'mum' in all ways to her two younger siblings and she's expected to do all the cleaning, cooking, etc., plus console her sisters through 'their' pain. Lily takes charge, but she verbally and mentally fights the responsibility since she will soon graduate and had plans to attend fashion design school in L.A. Life is horrendous as she tries to move forward. Anything that could happen, did. Thank goodness for her mum's best friend, Kady who understands and listens to Lily. Tragedies continue to pile up though and Lily has had enough. That's where this story takes a sharp turn. Without giving too much away, something wonderful happens for Lily, yet it's not the end of her troubles. You'll have to read this amazing book to find out all that she has to face. The author put her characters through the emotional ringer; everything from mind-numbing loss to extreme joy - and everything in between. This story is so well-written that when Lily was torn between loyalty to her family and wanting to break out on her own, I felt those same emotions. I also experienced joy when it finally came. As the story evolved, all of the characters' strengths and flaws were revealed, not just Lily's. There are some recurring themes in this story, but one powerful one jumped out at me from the beginning - how life can change in a blink and the only thing you can do is follow your gut to survive. Sometimes you make the right decisions due to the change, but sometimes you don't. All you can do is try your best and hope it's enough.

** You can find The Sum of our Sorrows on Amazon. It's available in e-book and paperback, and can be read for free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited. 

Check out Lisette Brodey at:



Amazon Author Page

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Like that barn...

On a lonely stretch of asphalt, I walked, past weathered barns and emerging crops. My thoughts and mood were a muddled mess today as I struggled to make sense of a virus that was a sneak attack on the world. With a large sigh, I determined there wasn't any way to emotionally come to grips with that horrible monster. I gritted my teeth and shoved it out of my mind.

Taking a deep breath, I was determined not to allow negative thoughts to take me over. As if that was some kind of challenge, mental pictures of the civil unrest shaking our nation tried to do exactly that. 

I wanted to shout, "No!" Instead, I wondered aloud, "How will I survive all this chaos?" My hand instantly went to my wrist and to the cross on my bracelet. A sudden calm came over me. I glanced back at the second barn I'd passed and received a powerful message from above. Like that barn, I was strong. Like that barn, I'd weathered more than a few storms. Like that barn, I was a bit broken, but I'd get through this and probably so much more.

Things may change because of the turbulent times, but I know I'm like that barn and I'll remain standing. 


Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Welcome C. B. Clark!

Today I have romantic suspense author Christine Clark (writing as C. B. Clark) on my blog with her latest book, Healing Hearts.

Welcome, Christine!  

"Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog today, Jan. I'm thrilled to be here. My sixth romantic suspense, Healing Hearts, is set in the beautiful Chilcotin Plateau area in Northern British Columbia. The Chilcotin is a vast wilderness area with few roads, hundreds of acres of dense coniferous forests, grassy ranch lands, and the towering, snow-covered peaks of the Coast Mountains. The people who call this area home are rugged and independent and possess a deep love of the land." 

Christine, could you tell us a little about your story by sharing the blurb and an excerpt? 

"I'd be happy to." 


Reeling from loss and heartbreak, Stella King is desperate to escape painful memories. The position of nanny on an isolated ranch in British Columbia's rugged Chilcotin Plateau seems the answer to her prayers.

Cattle rancher, Dawson Wheeler, has worked hard to overcome grief and build a predictable world for his young daughter. The last thing he needs is the all-too-attractive Stella disrupting the smooth running of his ranch, especially now that disturbing incidents are happening on his property. Defending his land against those who want to gut it will be a challenge, but the biggest threat of all may be to his heart.


The back of his neck itched. "You're Stella King?" Of course she was. Who else would be waiting here at this time of night? Once again he glanced at the photograph clenched in his hand -- gray curls, thick glasses, sixty years old. This was the Stella King he'd hired. The itching amped up to a full-out assault.

She stood and held out her hand. "Nice to meet you, Dawson."

He stumbled back a step, his worst fears confirmed. This gorgeous woman was the nanny he'd hired to look after Deirdre. 

Her light blue wool sweater did nothing to hide the rounded mounds of her breasts. Her legs looked a mile long in the white denim, skin tight, designer jeans tucked into a pair of knee-high, high-heeled, black leather boots. Her perfume wafted on the evening breeze, a heady mix of spring flowers and something subtle but decidedly feminine.

He struggled to swallow, but his throat was parched, his tongue as dry as old leather against the roof of his mouth.

Silence stretched between them. An owl hooted from a nearby tree, crickets chirped in the tall grass lining the ditch, and still he didn't move as the ramifications of what he'd agreed to engulfed him.

My comments:

Christine, you've set the stage for a lot of trouble for Dawson. I'm excited to find out just exactly how Stella King will fit - or not fit - into his life. Add in the incidents happening on his ranch. Dawson's world is about to be turned upside down. I'm intrigued.

Chilcotin Plateau looks beautiful from the way you describe it and in the pictures you've sent. 

Thank you so much for sharing your hard work with us, Christine! I have Healing Hearts on my Kindle and I look forward to learning more about Stella King and Dawson Wheeler, and about the wonderful setting you've placed them in.

Wishing you much success with this amazing book!

Here's a little more about Christine...

Christine is an award winning, romantic author who writes under the pen name C. B. Clark. She's always loved reading, especially romances, but it wasn't until she lost her voice for a year that she considered writing her own romantic suspense stories. She grew up in Canada's Northwest Territories and Yukon. She has worked as an archaeologist and an educator. She enjoys hiking, canoeing, and snowshoeing with her husband and dog near her home in the wilderness of central British Columbia.

* If you'd like to check out Healing Hearts you can find it here...

Barnes and Noble




Google Books

Also available at

** You can follow Christine here... 






Amazon Author Page

It's been a joy having you on my blog, Christine! I hope you'll come back again. 

Monday, October 14, 2019

Book Spotlight: LOVE, LOOK AWAY by Lisette Brodey

Today I have the pleasure of spotlighting Lisette Brodey's newest book, LOVE, LOOK AWAY! 

I knew this book was in the works and I got excited when Lisette announced it was officially published. Love, Look Away is my current read. I'd like to share with you a little bit about the story. 

~ * ~

At twenty-nine, Sage Gordon has had it with love. The owner of Sage Earth Gifts, a metaphysical gift shop in the old-money town of Swansea, New York, Sage is content to run her quirky store and enjoy her dog, Rufus, and her two cats, Finlay and Babaloo.

She is convinced love isn't for her. As a child, her best friend, Jimmy Cole, the boy she thought she'd marry someday, disappeared in the middle of the night with his family and was never heard from again. Haunted by the loss, she was wary about love as she moved into adulthood, never really connected with the men she dated, clinging to the hope that Jimmy would return.

When she's set up with Caleb Dunlap, a gorgeous marketing executive in New York City, Sage struggles to let go of the past, but she does. Happily, she finds herself engaged...then...not so much. If only Caleb had betrayed her before she sent out save-the-date cards.

When an obnoxious customer causes Sage's neurotic assistant, Margie, to quit on the spot, Sage finds a friend in Godiva Jones, a woman she hires on the same spot. Godiva, twenty years older than Sage, brings much-needed friendship and wisdom. Having recently broken up with the love of her life, Freddie, Godiva also relates to the pain of heartbreak. She is disturbed, however, when Sage professes that she wants love to look away from her...forever.

In no time at all, life takes another turn for Sage when an old friend (and long-time admirer), Adam Canoga, shows up at Sage Earth Gifts to let her know that he's opening a new men's clothing store in town. Discovering she is no longer engaged, he asks her out, but with regret, she tells Adam that she has no interest in dating. Sage's resolve to do without love becomes an even greater challenge when an Australian visitor, Benton Bradley, walks into Sage Earth Gifts and impresses Sage with his warmth and Aussie humor. Despite her best efforts to keep love at arm's length, she finds herself developing relationships with both Adam and Benton, two completely different, yet wonderful men. But Sage is stubborn, still haunted by her past, and finds herself wholly unsure of what to do.

*Lisette has written a blog post about Love, Look Away that talks about her inspiration for this book. If you'd like to check it out, click on the link below:

AUTHOR'S NOTE:  Love, Look Away is set in the same fictional town (Swansea, NY) as my first romantic comedy, Molly Hacker is Too Picky! This book is not, however, a sequel or a series. Love, Look Away is a stand-alone novel.

Some readers will recognize several characters from Molly, including Molly herself, playing supporting roles. And to readers who have never read Molly, but who may wish to do so, rest assured this novel does not give away the ending.

Lisette's bio:

Lisette was born and raised in the Philadelphia area. She spent ten years in New York City, and now resides in Los Angeles.

She's a multi-genre author of nine novels and one short story collection. In addition, two more of Lisette's short stories are published in an anthology. 

In 2013, Lisette edited and published a book of her mother's poetry (written 50 years earlier): My Way to Anywhere by Jean Lisette Brodey.

Books by Lisette:

Crooked Moon (General/Literary Fiction)
Squalor, New Mexico (Coming-of-age/Lit Fiction)
Molly Hacker is Too Picky! (Women's fic/romantic comedy) 
The Desert Series: Mystical High, Desert Star, and Drawn Apart (3 book series - YA Paranormal)
Barrie Hill Reunion (Literary Fiction)
Hotel Obscure: A Collection of Short Stories (Literary Fiction)
Love, Look Away (Women's fic/romantic comedy)
Triptychs (Anthology - book 3, The Mind's Eye series)

* Buy links *

You can follow Lisette Brodey here:




Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Special Guest: Christine Clark writing as C. B. Clark

My special guest is Christine Clark, writing as C. B. Clark.

Christine's an amazing writer and she's here today to share her newest romantic suspense, SECRET BETRAYAL. 

Here's the blurb...

Head college librarian, Marissa Reynolds has spent years distancing herself from her crime king pin uncle and his criminal empire. When she awakens in an unfamiliar hotel room with blood on her hands and no memory of how she got there, the past returns with a vengeance, and her life spirals into a nightmare. 

Straight-laced, Assistant district attorney, Scott Bannister has spent a lifetime seeking justice for the senseless gangland shooting deaths of his parents. When he realizes Marissa is the niece of his prime suspect, he crosses a line guaranteed to put in jeopardy both his life and his beloved career.

He's made it clear he'll do anything to destroy her uncle. She fears he's using her to achieve his goal. As the body count mounts, and their lives are threatened, they must put aside their distrust and work together to find the devious killer. Will they be able to forgive and find true love?

Christine has given us an excerpt of this great story...

     She pushed to her hands and knees. The pounding in her brain mushroomed into a full-blown, jackhammer assault. With a moan, she sank onto her bottom and grabbed her head in a fruitless effort to keep her brain from exploding. Despite the pain, she needed to get up. Something was wrong. Something was very wrong.
     Faint wisps of light seeped through the edges of the window curtains. The distant sound of traffic echoed through the glass. A lamp imbued the room with a soft, rosy glow, revealing a king-size bed. The cover on the bed was a glossy, garish pink, the pillows covered in the same lurid color, the edges trimmed with frilly, black lace.
     She rubbed the back of her neck and closed her eyes, but when she opened them again she was still in the unfamiliar room. A battered desk faced the bed, a large, flat screen television on top. The flickering images of a naked, full-breasted woman being entertained by two equally naked men played across the screen.
     A wingback chair, covered in black leatherette sat in the far corner where a door was ajar revealing the cracked linoleum floor of a bathroom and the edge of a chipped porcelain sink. A framed diagram of a fire escape route was posed on the back of the other door. A hotel room? She dug her fingers into her temples. Why couldn't she remember?

With the blurb and excerpt, I think Christine has given us a great setup for all the chaos that has happened, the danger still to come, and shocking secrets yet to be revealed.

If you would like to discover what is in store for Marissa and Scott, you can find SECRET BETRAYAL here:


Here's a little bit about Christine...

Secret Betrayal is award-winning author C.B. Clark's fifth romantic suspense published by The Wild Rose Press. She has worked as an archaeologist and an educator, and enjoys hiking, canoeing, and snowshoeing with her husband and dog near her home in the wilderness of central British Columbia.

If you'd like to follow Christine...



Wednesday, April 10, 2019

A small excerpt from TAMING TORI

TAMING TORI is book #3 in my Texas Boys Falling Fast Series. I wanted to shared a small excerpt with you so you know a little about Tori Caye's character and a little about Jake Garrison's.

     "Are you angry with me, Jake?"

     "What? No." Tori's line of cleavage kept getting longer. Any second now, those magnificent breasts would escape the thin piece of elastic holding them undercover. At the very least, a nipple would see the light of day. He tried not to follow the action, but his eyes had a will of their own.

     "Then why do you keep backing away? I don't have bubonic plague or the flu."

     A laughed formed in Jake's chest. He lowered his head so she wouldn't see the smile kinking the corners of his mouth. 

     "Seriously, I don't." The sob in her voice made him meet her eyes.

     "Tori, all these years you treated me like I had the plague."

     "No I didn't."

     Jake wouldn't argue the point. "I need another beer. He took a step away from the table."

     Tori darted in front of him and messed with the lapels of his tux. "I may have kept you at an arm's length in the past. I no longer want to." Placing her palms hard against his rib cage, she looked up at him through slow, calculated blinks. "I could use a friend."

     Don't get sucked in! Jake repeated it twice in his head. He needed to say it out loud. If his ears heard the advice, exercising caution might actually happen and the chance of being pulled deeper into her melodramatic existence would be minimal. The window of opportunity slammed shut when she moved in so close he could feel her body heat. 

* The battle of wits isn't easily won. Find out which one triumphs. You can follow their story here:  TAMING TORI ... on Amazon

Thank you so much for visiting my blog!




Tuesday, March 26, 2019

An interview with author/editor Cindy Davis!

It's always a pleasure to have a fellow author on my blog. Today my guest is author and editor, Cindy Davis. 

Welcome, Cindy! Let's get right to the interview...

1.) You've been an editor and writer for many years. How do you turn off the editor part of you, to tap into your creative side?

Cindy -- I don't. For me it's helpful to have the editor side turned on at all times. It helps create better first drafts. It does have a down side though; I cannot just write a stream of consciousness thought. By the time I'm halfway through I've forgotten what it was.

2.) You have 6 books in your Angie Deacon detective/cozy mystery series. Will you tell us about your main character?

Cindy -- Angie is a conflicted (although she doesn't know it) woman that faces much growth and change throughout the series. At the outset she is very high-maintenance and materialistic. After the demise of her marriage she faces herself many times in the mirror and realizes who she really is as a person. So actually, even though the plots are twisty and complicated and people tell me all the time they couldn't figure out whodunnit, I think it's mostly about her as a person.

3.) You also have a Smith and Westen cozy mystery series. Clue us in as to what we'll find when we start reading this collection of books.

Cindy -- I wanted to get away from the standard murder mystery format. Although my books were never gory and descriptive (more like what you'd see on Murder She Wrote), I wanted to do something fun and nothing that could remotely be considered romance.

This began with creating unique and totally diverse characters. Phoebe (don't call me that unless you have a death wish) Smith plays tuba, loves heavy metal music and snakes, and doesn't believe in underwear. Westen Hughes is a widowed Susie Homemaker with sensible shoes and fresh baked blueberry muffins. Kendra Jean KJ Valentine is a hardworking insurance underwriter who strives for recognition, and who loves men. She and Westen have a past. They went to high school together and she stole the cheerleader position, the football star, and valedictorian award from her. Sergeant Charlene Charlie Bartowski is recently widowed, mother of two teens, who escapes her home life to work. She craves a lieutenant's position and keeps getting passed over for men...

In On the Hook I put them all together and added a stolen Picasso worth a ton of money, and let them loose to see who found it first and garnered the 10% finders fee.

4.) These days you've replaced the northern cold with the southern warmth. Have both locations played a part in how and what you write?

Cindy -- In a sense. I haven't written a single mystery since moving south. After meeting Rick and finding what an amazing plot designer he is, we have been co-authoring New Age fiction which, yes, is set in warm climes.

5.) Collaborating with Rick to write some books, was it easy to step out of your comfort zone and write with someone else? 

Cindy -- Rick has always been an avid reader of many genres. Even so, he surprised me with his ability to understand story construction and character development. Which made the writing relationship smooth and fun. We hash out ideas for several chapters, then I construct them into what I hope is intelligible stuff, send it to him and he makes comments and suggestions. 

6.) Speaking of adding genres to your dossier, you've recently embarked on publishing motivational and self-help books, as well as New Age spiritual fiction. I'm intrigued, and I'm sure my readers and yours are too. Tell us a little bit about these books.

Cindy -- Since we met on a dating site, we thought it would be fun to write a how-to (we'd heard numerous horror stories about online dating). It contains both the male and female perspective about each topic presented in what we hope is a humorous manner. We did the same on a few other books -- Dating After Divorce, Resuming Life After the Death of a Spouse (topics on which we had some connection), a tongue-in-cheek look at raising kids, then a couple of how-to's on raising dogs, which I did for 16 years.

Rick has his own book How I Lost a Thousand Pounds, Eating my Way to Better Health (he lost a hundred pounds over a 2 year period).

The New Age fiction... How to describe this? We are avid readers, and frequently read out loud to each other. One book we chose was The Celestine Prophecy. We loved the premise -- of a character discovering spirituality for the first time, and learning it was inside him all the time. We wanted to write on a similar topic since I had done much the same thing and could really identify with that character. Thus was born Zipacna's Legacy, Jade. The easiest way to explain is with the synopsis:

There is an energy vortex in Chi'pais, Mexico. Rumor has it the elderly Zipacna created the vortex to lure unsuspecting outsiders (and their tuition) to his school of shamanism. Within the spiritual world, it was a celebrated center for spiritual training, teaching at levels beyond the 'back to Mother Earth' that centuries of shamans learned.

Granddaughter Jade inherits the property thinking it's a hotel. When townspeople shun her, and someone tries to frighten her away, she is baffled, but believes they will come around in time. She discovers the energy vortex but all she knows is it makes her feel invigorated. Until the arrival of 8-year-old Miguel, who, through his spiritual connections to Zipacna, helps awaken a shocking asset: her seer and healer's abilities, which she comes to realize she had all along.

A secret room imparts the knowledge she needs to embrace her spirituality and find a way to bring it to the world. She comes to terms with her legacy, repairs relationships thought long lost, and reopens the school.

7.) The publishing industry has changed over the years and writers are free to independently publish now. If you could give these writers a great piece of advice, what would it be?

Cindy -- Learn learn learn and edit edit edit. (Rick read this part and added, "Don't even start writing!") Learn about the industry and the tremendous work it takes to get recognized. Write a good story and get it professionally edited. This will sound harsh but DO NOT just put out your unedited book and expect it will sell. I -- and thousands of other authors, many of whom become my editing clients -- can promise it won't.

8.) How do you balance your writing life and book promotion with all the great things that the sunshine state has to offer?

Cindy -- I am the luckiest person on earth. I married a person who loves marketing. Really? I didn't know anyone had that ability. I had given up on the promotions. Things were going nowhere -- Why? I hadn't taken the time to learn the industry; I'd only gone halfway.

Rick works MANY hours per week branding me and getting my books out there. Listen folks -- he works almost FULL TIME at it. That's how much there is to do, and it is forever changing. We typically work in the office from 5am to noon. After lunch we run errands, workout, and/or have fun.

9.) When you need to recharge, what kinds of things help you to relax the most? That inspire you the most? 

Cindy -- So many things. We listen to bands (live music is available everywhere here), find unique restaurants, hike, go to the beach, walk in parks, watch nature, travel, and talk. No topic is taboo. We read out loud. It's not unusual to read a paragraph then spend 2 hours discussing it. We do not watch television except for football. 

10.) What are you currently working on? 

Cindy -- We just finished the sequel to Jade. The title is Zipacna's Legacy, Miguel. He is Jade's protege and on his own spiritual journey. It's set in Sedona, AZ. Our agent wants a third, but we're holding off writing it for now, although the plot is pretty much together. Yes, we do outlines. LOL.

We are also working on what is sure to be a very controversial book. I will share more on this once we get it better solidified. But it is sure to turn the New Age world on its ear...

* ~ *

Cindy (and Rick), I am in awe of your talent and energy! Thank you for sharing your writing life, books, and wisdom. I hope you'll be my guest(s) again. 

If you'd like to follow Cindy and Rick...
@cdavis461 (Twitter)