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Hollyland: A Novel

“I began to wonder if it’s even possible to have passion for your work and passionate love at the same time.”

Deanna Schwartz is a timid poetist and contemporary fiction writer who also has a degree in psychology and neuroscience, with a doctorate in art education and an innovative line of research. Ryder Field is a glamorous Hollywood actor and full-time playboy, widely known to the public for his iconic role in a successful action series and for his long list of failed relationships to acclaimed actresses and models.

Their paths cross on a side street adjacent to the entry of a night club in Los Angeles, and they strike up a conversation that has an undeniable spark. A weekend together. Dee teases her companion, goes skinny-dipping and dares to act bold in ways that would leave those who know her with their mouths agape. Rye goes to a farmers’ market, listens to an intimate live reading of her poetry and meets her closest friends on a brunch at her place. At a gala dinner, Rye tries to swoon a prestigious producer for his new series, and the night takes a turn for the unexpected as Rye and his associates discover that professor Deanna, the shy scholar and poetry writer, has some cards up her sleeve that reveal a whole new side to her relationship with arts. One day, though, a tragic event from Rye’s childhood catches up to them in a terrible coincidence, putting everything at stake.

Author Patricia Leavy does an excellent job of building up her characters in this enthralling romance novel. I enjoyed diving into the details of Deanna and Ryder’s characters. While this novel, by the end, utilizes a beguiling and suspenseful mystery to really ramp up the tension, I picked up this book again and again just to see those two together. They are characters that are interesting on their own, but when they’re together the story is alluring and enchanting. Their love for one another is reiterated throughout the story, but I think fans of love stories will still enjoy the story.

Hollyland takes the opposites attract trope to a new level by creating characters that are deep and compelling against an intriguing Hollywood backdrop. This will make a perfect feel-good beach read. The casual language and competent writing make the pages fly by. A bit melodramatic, heavily romantic, and all kinds of fun, Hollyland is a novel that left me smiling.

Pages: 224 | ASIN: B0B8H78CNT

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INFINITY: A Winter Romance

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It can never be said that Sarah Nightingale is a typical lady. As a seventeen-year-old, she is approaching old-maid status and does not seem to care. She is independent, outspoken, and completely willing and more than able to run her father’s farm. Tobias, her father, realizes all of this but still wants to see her married. When he arranges a meeting between his daughter and Matthew, an eligible and promising prospective son-in-law, he has no way of knowing he has set into motion a sequence of events he will soon regret. Meanwhile, Sarah has designs on a marriage of her own–one no one would ever expect.

Infinity: A Winter Romance, by Catalina DuBois, is one in a series of books that follows two star-crossed lovers through time as they continue to encounter one another and fight for the chance to be together. As they fight to reunite and regain the love that was once stolen from them, they must overcome one incredible obstacle after another in order to defeat the forces that are determined to keep them apart for eternity.

Sarah and Matthew make the perfect pair. The dynamic DuBois has created between the two in this time period is intriguing, to say the least. Sarah is headstrong and cannot be told what to do; she is a fantastic main character. Her boldness shines through everything she says and does throughout the plot. It’s clear that Matthew has been written to shine a light on Sarah’s character. He is likable but takes nothing away from Sarah.

I so enjoy the way DuBois writes. This is the second book in her Infinity that I have read, and the element of mystery she adds to her books makes each a must-read. She leaves each chapter with a line or two that will hook readers every time, urging them on to the next chapter. This is the kind of writing I prefer–I want to be made to feel that I am missing out if I don’t just keep reading. DuBois, without a doubt, is a master at producing books you won’t be able to put down until you have reached the last page.

Infinity: A Winter Romance, by Catalina DuBois, DuBois’s romance is tastefully written with just enough sensuality to attract romance fans. DuBois’s characters are relatable no matter the time period in which the book is written, and the combination of drama and humor, along with elements of romance, pushes DuBois’s works into the top spot on my list of books I highly recommend.

Pages: 154 | ASIN : B0BKYSQNZ9

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Holy Parrot

Leonard is, by his own description, a “twenty-one-year-old nerd” in Columbia on a research grant from Australia. Maria is a sixteen-year-old local claiming to be a pregnant virgin, set to give birth to a new Christ, as prophesied by her pet parrot. Despite having exactly nothing in common, a chance meeting brings the two together to form an instant, unexplainable bond that neither could have imagined. Over the course of their friendship, Leonard is forced to question everything he has ever believed about the conflicting ideologies of religion and science. Maria also must confront new ideas and experiences as she faces an ordeal far beyond her years.

Holy Parrot, by Angel A, is a beautiful and thought-provoking novel set in the lush, idyllic landscape of Buritaca, Columbia. The friendship between Leonard and Maria is established almost immediately while treated in a delicate tone that never comes across as either inappropriate or predatory, despite their age difference. It’s easy to understand how Leonard is so quickly spellbound by both Maria and his surroundings, as both are written in such a way that creates a heady atmosphere. Soon Robin is introduced, and he fills out the trilogy of main characters with a group of people who are so incredibly different yet complement each other wonderfully. There are actually few books where each and every character brings the perfect amount of support to a story, but this one manages that feat quite well. Every character, no matter how minor, is a necessary addition to this miraculous tale.

Holy Parrot covers many ideas and themes throughout its pages, including love, loss, religion, faith, and family. At its core, it could be argued to be a story about destiny, setting your own path while finding your true self amid past pain and present conflict. Leonard positively shines as the story’s narrator, slowly revealing himself to be a character with an incredible amount of depth, stepping outside his comfort zone time and time again in the unexpected role of protector. Even as he struggles to justify his own actions, Leonard never fails to stand up for Maria or stand beside Robin, all the time traveling toward a better understanding of what it truly means to live a fulfilled life.

This book gets an easy 5 out of 5 stars from me. It was extremely hard to put down, and the characters became as familiar as old friends. Even though I would love to know more about their lives after these events, I think the book ended in the most perfect way it could have. In addition, the ideas presented in regard to faith left plenty to consider far beyond the pages of the book without weighing it down with a glut of religious dogma. It was a perfect balance in every way!

Pages: 300 | ASIN : B0B8SL82J6

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The Orphan

The Orphan by James Lloyd is about a character called Omar, who is a man in his forties.  Within the first few pages of the book, Omar is introduced to the reader as a blunt character as he navigates through his professional life.  The reader soon finds out that Omar is not the most lovable character that one might expect from a protagonist.  As the plot develops, it becomes apparent that Omar’s character has more to it than meets the eye and has to learn the lesson that many people have to face: if you don’t reconcile with your past, it will show up in one shape or form.

This thought-provoking book is written in the third-person narrative, which further prevents the reader from becoming attached to Omar straight away.  I like how James Lloyd wrote the narrative, as it gives the reader the time to make up their own mind on how they want to view Omar.

The book contains a detailed plot that ties the story together intricately.  Although the novel falls into the drama genre, James Lloyd combines various elements of the mystery and detective genres which lead up to a suspenseful event.  James Lloyd explores Omar’s past through devices like flashbacks and through the curiosity of other characters.  Learning about Omar in this way pushes the reader to question who Omar really is, whether he is a product of his life experiences or using them as an excuse for his actions in the present.

The Orphan is a deeply thoughtful drama with Christian values intertwined. I would recommend this insightful book to anyone who enjoys complex storylines and reading texts by authors who do not share everything with the reader immediately, giving the reader time to think retrospectively.

Pages: 358 | ASIN : B0B7KNMSS3

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MARGARET’S STORY

Margaret’s Story by Annette Creswell is a captivating and intriguing story about loss, trauma, toxicity, mental illness, the effects of adoption, and the lifelong pursuit of happiness in the lives of a highly dysfunctional family.  Creswell does an impeccable job of illustrating how mental illness and trauma affect a family and the life following thereafter. Margaret’s Story is brilliantly beautiful, intermingled with life and loss, and daringly bold in its complicated plot lines. This insightful novel sheds light on how the actions of people always yield results— for better or worse. 

I greatly enjoyed this book.  It made me evaluate how my relationship with my family directly affects the decisions I make.  It also gives me perspective on how others deal with dysfunctional families.  Margaret’s Story revolves highly around family and how intertwined relationships become with lifelines and decisions. This book was intriguing and truly made me think.  The story itself was captivating and kept me wanting more.  The characters were relatable and rich in personality, and the plot was thick with twists and turns.

This book deals with difficult topics sheds light on things that are not talked about or considered taboo and has a beautiful story that one can return to. I would recommend this book to anyone who has a family, deals with mental illness, and has a history of trauma.  This recommendation is not based on the topics of these potential triggers; rather, it is based on how these are dealt with and can open up doors for opportunities. 

Margaret’s Story is an emotionally charged family saga novel that touches on family life’s messy and complicated aspects. This book is highly recommended, and readers will find themselves invested in the story, wanting more until the end.

Pages: 190 | ASIN : B0BBW696N8

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The Parables of Chance

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The Parables of Chance by John Nicholson tells the story of people living in a small town in the Midwest called Parables. The characters are seemingly separate from each other but tied together in ways they don’t see. Using the technique of an omnipresent narrator, Nicholson utilizes a play on words to examine a town growing and changing in ways the locals’ regret. The treatment of animals is the yardstick by which this society is measured. Abused and abandoned animals used to be unusual but are now becoming more common. As an old-timer, Sam laments, “The more this town grows, the farther it drifts from the values that made it such a great place.”

The main character around which most of the story revolves is a cat called Tabby. He is a pawn in a bitter split, beloved by Tony but given to Ruth in their divorce settlement. In a fit of misguided vengeance, Ruth abandons him. Tabby is then cruelly abused by a drunk called Rick and attacked by a wily street cat and then a fox; he is finally rescued by a kind-hearted student nurse, Lizzie, and she renames him Chance.

All the kind and terrible things the characters do or experience are tied somehow to Tabby/Chance and each other. A fistfight between Tony and Rick over the cat results in Olivia almost losing her baby. Unknown to Olivia, the nurse who treats her and gives her hope is the same woman who rescued Tabby.

The Parables of Chance is satisfying in that, unlike real life, in these “parables,” the bad guys get what’s coming to them, and the good guys get their “chance,” learn their lessons and find their happy endings. This novel is filled with suspense and drama that readers will be hooked into as they follow a mistreated tabby cat named Cance.

Pages: 247

Alabaster Box…Two Women One Struggle – Book Trailer

Alabaster Box is the explosive sequel to Will You Be Made Whole.

Find out what happens when Cookie Spencer and Kat Jennings try desperately to escape their scandalous pasts and put their lives back in order only to be shunned by a society that won’t forgive and doesn’t forget.

Will You Be Made Whole – Book Trailer

Two teenagers from two very different backgrounds get caught up in a whirlwind of drugs, prostitution, and murder while fighting to survive in a world that they have no control over. The battle to survive will change their lives forever.

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