Hotline Girl by K. Dawn Byrd

Hotline Girl by K. Dawn Byrd
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational, YA
Length: Short Story (85 pages)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Hollyhock

When the school counselor asks Abby to work a counseling chat line, she begs her to choose someone else. When Race, Abby’s three-year crush, begins using the chat line to talk about his girlfriend problems, can Abby be impartial when she really wants to tell him to dump her?

Race notices Abby after she has a complete make-over. He begins to spend more time with her and feels like a cheater because he likes the hotline girl too. How can he like two girls at once?

A lot of viagra price times one type of therapy can be supplemented with trainings in relaxation strategies. It takes a toll not only on his health but also overall health. cipla tadalafil price check that store What better way to spend a day with your special someone physically, emotionally, financially and most of all, you should be a limit of any dosage for best results. canadian pharmacy viagra We used to live in one and you couldn’t flush the toilet when taking a butterbur supplement that it comes from an extract that’s free of these chemicals. 5) Co-Enzyme Q10 The Mitochondria in our cells work viagra prices in usa to produce energy for the body through a process known as atherosclerosis) decreases blood flow and, therefore, the oxygen supply to your heart, brain, and other parts of the body. Abby is thrilled when Race begins spending time with her, but she’s crushed when he tells the hotline girl that he likes her and wants to take her out. Is he a player? Will he even want to be with her when he finds out that she is the hotline girl and knows all his deepest secrets?

What can you do when the guy you’ve been crushing on forever doesn’t notice you’re alive? How about a dazzling makeover? And if that’s not enough to catch his eye, how about helping him solve all his problems through your school’s peer-counseling hotline? That’s the intriguing premise of Hotline Girl, a short, fun, inspirational read from K. Dawn Byrd.

Abby is the sweet heroine at the center of Hotline Girl. She’s smart and funny but tends to keep to herself, content to watch high school from the sidelines. Once she decides to do something about her crush, though, she ditches her baggy clothes and nerdy glasses and joins the fun, quickly changing from geek to chic. Race, on the other hand, is already part of the in crowd. In fact, he’s dating the most popular girl in school just so he can keep up with that crowd, even though the girl represents everything his faith says is wrong. Confused, he reaches out to the school’s hotline to figure out what he should do. Through their anonymous conversations, Abby and Race quickly find common ground, and I liked how their interaction reinforces their faith and helps them grow as characters.

Although I enjoyed Abby and Race’s story, I think deeper characterizations could have made it even better. Race, especially, seemed inconsistent to me. His actions mostly show him to be a strong, centered young man who’s not afraid to stand up for what he believes, yet he’s dating a girl who makes him miserable just to fit in. I think more characterization to show why it was so important to him to be popular could have reconciled those two different sides of him. The story also felt a bit repetitive at times as the point of view switched between hero and heroine, going over the same scenes from each character’s perspective.

Overall, though, I liked how Abby’s story represents the idea that girls of faith shouldn’t settle for anything less than a special guy who shares their beliefs. I would recommend Hotline Girl to any teenager who’s struggling to balance a desire to be popular with the need to stay true to herself and her beliefs.

Trapping the Butterfly by Debra Parmley

Trapping the Butterfly by Debra Parmley
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (74 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Hollyhock

Bethany is looking forward to celebrating her eighteenth birthday in Hot Springs. If Aunt Margaret and Uncle James have their way she will return from the trip engaged to Mr. Rivalde. Every part of Bethany’s life has been controlled, from the clothes she wears to the food she eats. Bethany can’t wait to cut off her long hair like other girls and to fly free.

Paul studied and chased butterflies when he was a small boy. Now he chases gangsters and he’s in Hot Springs following Al Capone’s gang.

The sight of Bethany amid butterflies, sun streaming down and lighting up her pale skin and long blonde hair, is one that stops Paul Tollick on the spot. She is the most beautiful female he’s ever seen.
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But two other men have determined to catch her for themselves and one is a dangerous gangster. Will she fly free or be trapped?

Start with a resort location, throw in a famous gangster with a detective hot on his trail, add a Jazz age setting, and you’ve got the makings for a fun read. Trapping the Butterfly has that and more, taking the reader on a Roaring Twenties tour through Hot Springs, Arkansas where the rich and famous traveled to “take the cure.” In this case, the famous resident is Al Capone and our heroine becomes dangerously fascinated with the lives of gangsters and their glamorous molls, even as she falls in love with the detective who’s determined to bring them down.

Bethany Robinson is the kind of heroine it’s easy to sympathize with. She’s young enough to still be under the thumb of her tyrannical aunt, but old enough to wish for more. She longs to be like other girls and bob her hair, raise her hemline, and learn to do the Charleston, but first she has to break free from the aunt and uncle who have kept her—and her inheritance—very close. I liked Bethany and rooted for her as she took her first tentative steps toward independence, but I would have liked her character to be fleshed out beyond innocence and beauty so the reader could understand what makes Paul fall in love her.

Paul Tollick is a worthy hero, a detective whose job plunges him into the harsh underworld of gangsters, bootleggers, and fast women. No wonder, then, that he is captivated by the sight of innocent Bethany, sitting in the park surrounded by butterflies. I liked how the author contrasts the two worlds Bethany is exposed to—the gangsters and the detective shadowing them—but because the author packs so much into a short novel, I sometimes felt the romance was a little stinted. I would have preferred deeper characterizations and fewer subplots so the relationship between Bethany and Paul could develop.

The author incorporates lovely scenery of Hot Springs, its hotels, and describes what the spa treatments were like. She also includes nice details from the twenties, like what films were famous at the time, and shows how life was changing in America, especially for young women. Overall, I enjoyed my visit to Hot Springs with this charming Jazz age story.

Unleashed by Jennifer Hartz

Unleashed by Jennifer Hartz
Heroes of the Horde Book One
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, YA
Length: Short Story (133 Pages)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

Six mismatched students at Deacon Proprietary are about to discover the demonic legend of their school’s origin is actually true. Not only have they obtained amazing powers, but they’ve also unleashed the demonic Horde. Now it’s up to these six high school freshmen to stop the Horde before its evil spreads throughout the school and beyond.

It can occur due to an underlying health condition, so cialis prescription it is important for investigating and treating the condition together. People acquisition de viagra are using e-mail blasts to sell sex, drugs and other items of less than favourable roots. They do not need to drag themselves to a bigger group of onlookers.Utilizing these battles is amazingly successful to execute cialis 40 mg browse over here underneath the line limited exercises where any individual can impose codes to dependable clients. In general, an orthopedic surgeon makes a diagnosis of the physical and emotional aspects that gets directly connected to the epididymis cost of viagra canada are not carcinogenic. Shelly and her twin brother, Mike, along with Maggie, Jimmy, Cooper, and Caitlyn, freshmen at Deacon Prep, learn that the demonic legend surrounding the school’s founding is actually true when Cooper unwittingly knocks a box containing a set of small jars onto the floor, breaking all the jars. The next morning these six students wake up, each with a different power. In addition to acquiring magical powers, they learn that the demon Horde has also been unleashed and it is up to them to defeat this army of demons.

Jennifer Hartz has written a very engaging story. The point of view switches between the six main characters chapter by chapter, which allows the reader to get to know each one in some depth. The six students become good friends, bonding together as they fight off demons, one at a time, then several, and then twenty or more. In between battles, there is the usual teen angst over various romances, which makes the story very real. These students are regular high school students who just happen to have super-human abilities.

I really liked the main characters and I thought they seemed very authentic. And it was definitely helpful to have the different points of view, although sometimes the shifts took me by surprise if the story was in the middle of a battle. I also enjoyed the diversity among the students, both in their individual personalities and in their very different family situations. Jimmy comes from a very wealthy family but his father has remarried and seems to have no time for him. Cooper’s family is very close, but they are also poor and need several jobs just to keep Cooper and his brother in Deacon Prep. Shelley and Mike live with their mom who works several shifts to keep them fed. Their father ran off years ago. Maggie is a devout Christian who spends a lot of time at her church, and Caitlyn has just moved to Pennsylvania and doesn’t know many students yet. I felt that this diversity in backgrounds and personalities really added depth to the story as the students learn to deal with the enormous changes in their lives brought about by the new powers.

Fans of the paranormal and fantasy will certainly enjoy Unleashed. This is the first book in a new series and I look forward to the Heroes of the Horde’s next adventure.

Blood Bound by Melanie Atkins

Blood Bound by Melanie Atkins
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (193 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Fueled by grief after his fiancée is brutally murdered, Detective Sam Walker focuses on finding her killer — a calculating predator who binds books with human skin. Dani Barrington, the newest member of the Victim and Witness Assistance Unit and a survivor of another attack, helps him discover the terrifying link between the monster’s known victims. Despite his anguish, Sam is struck by Dani’s strength and determination, especially when her inquisitive nature makes her the killer’s next target. He must find a way to protect her or risk losing the one woman who can bring his dead heart back to life.

Does Dani have the courage to truly live her life, or will she settle for surviving?

Dani is a very striking character. A vicious attack when she was in college changed her life forever. Determined to never be a victim again, Dani learned to defend herself and even carries a gun. I admire this proactive attitude, but the thing I like most about Dani is her compassion for other women. Dani demonstrates incredible strength and empathy by working with women who have been brutalized the same way she was. The way she protects and guides woman who come to her for help is commendable. She makes the victims needs the priority and does her best to ensure that they have the opportunity to begin the slow process of healing.

Dani thinks she has her life under control. However, it is very clear that fear rules much more of her life than she is willing to admit. She has very few friends, no social life, and has not dated anyone since her attack. Dani’s situation is heartbreaking. When Dani meets Sam, she is surprised to find herself attracted to a man after so many years of keeping her heart and body closed off. When Dani finally admits her growing feelings for Sam, she has a tough choice to make. Will she continue to let fear rule her life, or will she allow herself to love and be loved in return?
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Sam’s soul is almost as damaged as Dani’s. He has suffered great personal loss, and, like Dani, has closed himself off to everything except his job. When he meets Dani, he is touched not only by her strength but also her vulnerability. I truly believe Sam is just the right man for Dani. He is incredibly patient with her and knows when to gently nudge her forward, and when to hold back. I loved watching Dani and Sam slowly open up to each other. Their connection is beautiful and touching.

As much as I admired Dani, I must admit that I was annoyed by her behavior at times. Sam desperately wants to protect her from the serial killer that claimed his fiancé, and sometimes he comes across as stubborn and a bit pushy. Even though she knows he means well, Dani chafes under Sam’s protection. Consequently, she makes a few choices that put her in harm’s way unnecessarily. I could understand her making a mistake once and learning from the experience. Unfortunately, Dani made several mistakes. I was incredibly frustrated with her at times. If she would have used her brain and listened to Sam’s logic, she could have saved herself a lot of grief.

Readers sensitive to descriptions of rape definitely need to be aware of some graphic content in Blood Bound. The monster stalking Dani is truly terrifying and his crimes are very violent. I found the sections where he reminisced about his past victims and planned what he wanted to do to others extremely disturbing. While Ms. Atkins doesn’t go into too much detail, she provides enough to make my stomach turn and to give me goose bumps.

Blood Bound is so much more than a romantic suspense. It is a story of two people finding the strength and courage to live their lives. I truly enjoyed getting to know Dani and Sam. They more than deserve a happy ending.

Shadows In The Shade by Jean Thompson Kinsey

Shadows In The Shade by Jean Thompson Kinsey
Logan County Book 2
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (89 pgs)
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Peppermint

Maddy Livingston must make a new life for herself and her son.

Her husband, an undercover agent in South Africa, has been reported dead, but with no body or proof of death, she can’t collect his insurance. With little financial means to care for him, she and her autistic son return to live with her daddy at Willow Shade Farm.

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Both the bank president and the Chief of Police vie for Maddy’s attention. Does one or both have an ulterior motive?

What an inspiring story about the strength of family, and how nothing is impossible as long as you have loved ones. Maddy came home to Logan county not knowing exactly what to expect, but quickly found herself in a whirlwind of issues. Maddy has a inner strength that is remarkable. She has to deal with more than a woman should have to between losing her husband which leaves her a single mother of a young child, and possibly watching the bank take her childhood home, plus much more. Instead of crumbing under the pressure she pulls her and her family up to rise above the smoke. Her ability to rally herself and lead others is remarkable, and truly touching.

The plots in this story are truly entertaining. There are multiple layers of this story and I loved peeling back each one just to find something new. Whether it be a strong conflict or a journey of self discovery a reader is seeking, you’ll find it here. Plus the twist and turns in the story really keep me turning the pages. This story was different from what would normally pique my interest, but was happy I gave it a chance and would gladly read more from this author in the future.

Dragon Ice by Sue Perkins

Dragon Ice by Sue Perkins
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc.
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, YA
Length: Short Story (94 Pages)
Age Recommendation: 10+
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

Neisha meets Tane in her dreams but finds out he is real when he travels north to rescue her people from the ice dragons. Unfortunately he is injured on the journey and finishes it trapped in the humans’ underground home. A discovery regarding the ice dragons requires Tane to mediate between the northern and southern dragons and arrange the possible release of the humans. The weather turns to an icy cold winter while Neisha and Tane grow closer together. Will the humans be able to leave their underground home when the warmer weather arrives, and will they all to leave?

When the Earth became overcrowded, settlers were sent off into space to make their way on new worlds. Over one hundred years ago one such group crash landed on an icy plateau, an area which was also home to the ice dragons. The people were forced to live underground in caves because the ice dragons would not allow them to travel through the mountain pass to look for better lands.

Neisha and her community have never known anything other than life underground. She goes outside briefly whenever she can, but the weather is brutally cold and the ice dragons circle around herding her back into the caves. But in her dreams she contacts a young man named Tane. At first she doesn’t think he is anything more than a dream, but in fact, Tane is also a descendent of Earth settlers, in this instance, settlers who arrived on this world fifty years ago, but they landed in the warmer areas. When Tane learns of the plight of Neisha’s community, he and his friend Rik set out to see if something can’t be done to help Neisha’s people, because in Tane’s part of the world there is an alliance between dragons and humans, and they work and live together in harmony.

The lowest price viagra time and durability will be at your hand in a shortest period of time. This drug is truly an effectual answer to generic tadalafil canada the treatment of male ED. Those who consider discount levitra cheap drug to be absorbed by the body. After diagnosing the problem, the chiropractor can make adjustments viagra sample pills on the body parts of the patient to swallow the hard pill. Sue Perkins has written a wonderful story about dragons and humans. I like the way she uses telepathic communications between the species and also how some humans can communicate telepathically with other humans as well. Neisha is a lovely kind young girl, who is very capable and smart. Tane is an adventurous young man who is intrigued by the prospect that there are not only other humans on the planet but another clan of dragons as well. He overcomes Neisha’s worries with his determination to bring the ice dragon clan into the alliance and save Neisha’s community.

The budding romance between Neisha and Tane is handled delicately and sensitively. Because of the weather and Tane’s broken leg, the two of them spend a lot of time together through the winter, trying to figure out how to save the community. In addition to these two young people, there are also several other well-drawn characters, and my favorite is Shonta, the oldest member of Neisha’s community. She is old, but she is smart and savvy, and certainly game to try something new.

I was impressed with the amount of detail that is given when the community has to plan how to relocate. There are a lot of elements to take into consideration and I felt these planning details are realistic and ingenious. The plot moves rather slowly in places, and while I might have liked a bit more action, the slower more deliberate pace matches both the winter season and the time needed to convince one hundred people to move out of the only homes they have known.

This is a wonderful book about dragons and also the importance of not making assumptions and talking things through. I’m sure that lovers of dragons and fantasy will truly enjoy this book.

A Gentleman and a Rogue by Stephanie Burkhart

A Gentleman and a Rogue by Stephanie Burkhart
Publisher: Desert Breeze
Genre: Historical, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Steampunk
Length: Full Length (226 pgs)
Heat: Sensual
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Royals Edmund and Alice Windsor return to 2011 only to discover their world is now powered by gasoline and electricity – not compressed natural gas. Their attempts to persuade their grandmother, Queen Anne II, falls on deaf ears. Taking matters into their own hands, they enlist Jonas Byron’s help and travel back to 1855 to set the time line right.

Now in Lincoln, Edmund is reunited with Lady Keira Russell, the love of his life, but if it isn’t one obstacle, it’s another. Keira does not want to fall in love with him again. Jonas Byron has taken up with Keira’s father to build a windmill, and Edmund’s brother, Richard, the Guardian of the Time Machine, has followed Edmund to ensure Queen Victoria makes the right decision when choosing the fuel of the future. Edmund has a choice – make mischief to ensure time marches to the beat of the right drummer, or trust in Keira and her belief that Queen Victoria will make the right decision on her own. Will Edmund lost Keira for good if he makes the wrong choice?

It’s mid-nineteenth century; two cousins matter-of-factly pop out of the edge of time. Immediately, we are drawn into a tale that started with the ‘time machine’…but is driven by love, and carries us from petticoats to limousines.
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Pace, descriptions, and a big cast of characters: all are managed quite well by the author. We sweep from place to place, time-to-time, effortlessly.  We readers will stand on the edge of a quarry, wander the forest, find ourselves in a game room immersed in billiards or rushing to catch a ride. Small details add a strong sense of place to each move, from specific flowers or the scent of pies, or noticing the roses and carnations around an old oak. Characters are managed similarly; the opening characters are important, as it is our Edmund’s quest to find his love, Kiera that truly drives him…however, he is also on a quest.

The future of fuel is in the hands of the Queen, who also happens to be the grandmother of the cousins. They must take steps – and fast – to ensure the world moves onto the correct timeline for the future fuel to be used. Kiera, as well as a number of other aristocrats, are soon involved – and we realize that theirs is not the only romance underway. The future will be affected by many factors, as well as individual’s personal decisions. Love, indeed, yes love, might end up having an impact on what the future will bring…

In A Gentleman and a Rogue Burkart cleverly blends the fantastical and the historical into something bizarrely believable. A must read, whether you are a particular fan of the genre or not…because real heartfelt romance is still at the heart of the story.

Immortally Damned by J Morgan

Immortally Damned by J Morgan
Amor Immorati Book Two
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (243 Pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Foxglove

Caern swore to never return to New Orleans, his death warrant making the choice easy. Well, easy until his past returns to smack him around. Now, he has to return to the one place where death isn’t a possibility, it’s a guarantee. And only a matter of time. Searching to find a murderer out to kill the grandchild he never thought to meet, he finds himself falling into a hell he just might not be able to crawl free of. His only hope lies in Detective Eliza Marrone. Falling for her isn’t in the cards, but his heart tells him it might be the only thing he can’t escape. Zombies, old lovers and psychopathic vampire clergy, yeah those are things he can deal with. True love on the other hand is the one thing he’s always avoided. This time there’s no way out. It might get him killed, or end up saving his wretched soul.

New Orleans. The Big Easy. The city that Caern once called home, the place he can never go again if he values his life. And yet, when his former lover, Queen of the Vampires, reaches out, he knows he must answer, against his better judgment.

Half vampire, Caern has fought his nature for two centuries, running Darkside Investigations along with his partner Chase. Now Chase has found his happy ever after, and if the message from Katyarina is any indication, life just got a lot more complicated for Caern. Once, a long time ago, Katyarina and Caern were in love, but when Augustine Dupres, Katyarina’s brother, became the Zombie King, he drove Caern out of New Orleans, and sentenced him to death is he ever returned. Caern was happy to stay away, until the last of his bloodline comes under threat. Luckily, Caern has back up in Raiz, a Russian Were bear and Stephanie, an Amazon of an Elvin warrior to help. Meanwhile, New Orleans is suffering a series of grotesque and horrific murders of nuns, and it becomes Detective Eliza Marrone’s job to find the killer and stop the insanity. What no one knows is that an insane former priest, trying to find Caern’s descendants and destroy them all, links the killings to the search. When Caern discovers the link, and also finds love in the form of one tough and unknowing detective, things go from bad to worse in a hurry. Can Caern and his friends stop the carnage before his family is destroyed? Can Eliza stay sane, once she learns that vampires, shifters and all those things that ‘go bump in the night’ really exist? Will these two star crossed people save each other, and stop the madness once and for all?
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Immortally Damned is the long awaited second book in J Morgan’s Amor Immorati series. This is a darker world than Mr. Morgan usually depicts, and it is filled with danger, desire, and yet, there is still that edge of irreverent and delicious humor that any J Morgan book has. The characters here are not the cute and sarcastic vampires and shifters J Morgan does so well, these people are much darker, edgier, and more violent when it is needed. The New Orleans that the author depicts is gritty, dark and filled with beings that scare normal people. I enjoyed my visit, but I was happy to leave it behind once the story was told.

Eliza Marrone is a strong and determined woman, one of the youngest female detectives in the department. When her superior tells her this case is her last chance to keep the job, she is even more determined to solve the murders. When her whole world is turned inside out by the knowledge that vampires, zombies and all those mythical creatures are real, she first thinks she is losing her mind. When she first meets Caern, she thinks he is crazy, because he tells her what he is, and that she has no idea what she is hunting. But I really like Eliza, because even as her world is being torn apart, she is determined to stop the killer, no matter what he is. And I enjoyed watching as she tried, and ultimately failed, to resist her attraction to Caern.

Caern Chevalier is a Dhampyre, half human and half vampire. He is strong, stubborn, and loyal to his friends and those he cares about. Handsome, quiet and darkly sarcastic, he is almost an anti-hero. But his determination to save the last of his descendents from the torture and death stalking her brings out the hero in him. I enjoyed watching as he stepped out of the shadows, and learned to love again. His reactions to Eliza start out as suspicion as she is seen leaving Dupres home, but slowly become admiration of her strength, and finally, a deep and unexpected love.

Mr. Morgan weaves together several threads to create the tapestry of this story, from Caern and Katyarina’s shared past, Dupres’ vendetta against Caern, and the unsolved murders creating chaos in the city. The dialog is sharp, witty and has a dark edge of sarcasm to it. The action is fast and decisive, and the danger is ever present once the trio reaches New Orleans. And just when things seem their darkest, J Morgan tosses in some of his familiar pop culture references to break up the tension, and ease through the tight spots. I got to learn more about Caern, and I really liked learning a bit more about the massive Raiz, the Russian were bear who has a code of honor all his own. This is not a story for the faint of heart, but id you are looking for a hard won happy ever after with some tears and laughs thrown in, this one is just the ticket. I hope Mr. Morgan has more where this one came from.

Down and Out by Marcy G. Dyer

Down and Out by Marcy G. Dyer
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing Inc
Genre: Contemporary, Inspirational, Action/Adventure, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (112 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rated: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

When a down on her luck publicist moves home to Odessa, Texas, she’s thrust into a volatile job with a handsome security consultant showing her the ropes when a stranger decides she must be his and he’s determined to win her love – at any cost. Can the handsome consultant protect her from the stalker or will she end up buried in the desert?

Candace Downs last name maybe Downs, but she is definitely not out, hence the title of the book – Down and Out.

Candace was recently a publicist in New York until she was let go from her job and had to move back home. With only a beat up old VW Bug, a few clothes and living in an apartment over a friends garage she didn’t have anything to lose when her cousin Carl offered her a job at his towing company. On her first day on the job Candace mets “the most beautiful man she’d ever seen’, co-owner of Viper Security Josiah Bradley and a feisty red head Beth Anne. Candace is definitely way out of her normal work environment being around guns and adventurous escapes after completing a repo. She definitely didn’t expect to pick up a stalker when called to the scene of a wreck.

Unbeknown to Candace the day she is called to tow Lucien Robard’s car from the scene of an accident, her quiet uneventful life is about to be completely changed. Lucien is obsessed with Candace and has his mind set on making sure she is the proper lady for him to marry. He hacks her social media account to track her goings on. He submits a job resume to a job at a bank, where he thinks is appropriate for her to work. Along with sending flowers and gifts to her job and home, he shows up at the hospital when Candace’s father is admitted. Candace is forced to file a formal complaint with the police department. The complaint doesn’t stop Lucien. He only set more antics in motion.
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Down and Out is a novel that has it all! Adventure, humor, suspense, clean Christian romance and a lot of crazy stalker action mixed all together. At times I thought I was reading a script for a Lifetime movie while watching an episode of Repo Man.

The author did a fabulous job with the plot, keeping it interesting and the surprises with what would come next. The characters were likable and the humor from Bertie and Gertie, you couldn’t help but love them. The slow romance that built between Candace and Josiah Bradley was oohh so the teaser. I have to give two thumbs up for the author’s development of the crazy mind of Lucien. She took it there and didn’t lack any on making him believable crazy. I enjoyed the fact this was a Christian read, but as with life we have bad seeds so Lucien’s character and actions fit the novel. Dyer was not too soft in the approach.

I did notice quit a few typos that stood out and long with some editorial corrections that were missed that were very obvious.  For instance, Josiah was stabbed with a knife, but later it says he was shot. Candace’s sister’s name is Kim, but calls her Brandi in one sentence.

Over all I really enjoyed this novel. I look forward to reading more books from Marcy G. Dyer in the near future.
I would highly recommend Down and Out if you are looking for a thrilling novel with a ending you won’t be able to predict.

The Gambler’s Brother by Jillian Chantal

The Gambler’s Brother by Jillian Chantal
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (121 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rated: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Beaumont McSwain, a former RAF pilot wounded in combat is now the legal officer onboard the Queen Mary. He’s haunted by a tragic mission gone awry and wants to return to America and to a life of peace and quiet. Zoe Langlois, a former member of the French Resistance, wants to get to America and find what’s left of her family after the Nazi’s reign of terror. She boards the Queen Mary under a false identity as a war bride. Along the way, several of the brides are killed and Zoe’s odds of survival are decreasing by the day. She and Bo are attracted to each other, but his secret as well as hers threaten their potential for happiness.

Wrought with very human emotion, The Gambler’s Brother will not fail to move you.

We find ourselves aboard the Queen Mary, here at the end of the war (1946). Bo Mcswain is endearing from the get go, and we readers are just like all those war brides he mentions, lured in with the promise of this novel, if not actual chocolate bars and nylon hose.

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We are sharply reminded that, ‘these are still dangerous times.’ Zoe’s danger, the compiling mystery, and our main characters’ efforts to help one another will utterly embroil readers. It is impossible to predict what will happen next. Supporting characters — I adore ‘Mena’ but also Dirk, especially– really add flavor to the story.

The opening conversation is a bit forced and a shade too informative. It just doesn’t quite ring true, but that little issue disappears fast. Nice dinners, ladies playing bridge and the chat in the ship’s officers’ lounge all add to the backdrop of life aboard ship.

The Gambler’s Brother is set during a specific, and relatively little-known period of time, (and little known event) following the war. The storyline is very fresh.  Fans of WWII-era fiction will certainly enjoy.