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Madam Vice President

Madam Vice President by [Julian Mann]

Madam Vice President by Julian Mann is an exciting story about Victoria Pierce, a very ambitious girl who flees her home in Oklahoma, escaping her strict parents, and moves to San Francisco where she enlists in the United States Marine Corps. She is very patient and determined, persevering and works her way up the ranks till she becomes the Brigadier General.

She gets into a dreaded love affair with the United States Senator Sam Eagan throughout her career development phase and they manage to keep it a rendezvous from everyone except one anonymous stalker. She goes ahead and joins politics where she befriends Grace Brandon who gets suspicious of Victoria’s past and poses a threat that could change Victoria’s future in politics when she is elected president.

Author Julian Mann bases this riveting story on real-life situations that are based on a real 25th amendment law that raised his concern. He uses his writing to connect with a larger audience and the vivid way the story is written makes it more relatable to readers. The flow of events creates suspense at the end of each chapter; this made it very hard for me to pick a place to set the book down. The story is filled with rich, believable, dialogue that feels engaging throughout this novel; which is important because this is a character focused drama.

The fact that the author has managed to write the book in an agrarian setting and still bring out women empowerment throughout the growth of Victoria’s career increases the book’s appeal (at least to me it does) and is a role model for strong female protagonists.

The friendship between Victoria and Grace would have been a good one if not for Grace’s envy which sparks curiosity, raising eyebrows that make her poke into Victoria’s past. Despite the bad decisions she made, the young Vera Ochman still fights against all odds to become successful.

Madam Vice President by Julian Mann has a seemingly endless flow of intriguing events that ratchets up the suspense in this dramatic political fiction novel. I think this novel will appeal to anyone looking for an engrossing political thriller that knows how to build compelling characters.

Pages: 297 | ASIN: B08TK9GM3H

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Delightful and Endlessly Funny

Linda Sheehan Author Interview

Decanted follows a vivacious young woman as she learns making wine and the perils of love. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

My daughter, the delightful and endlessly funny Samantha Sheehan, who created and produces Poe Wines Pinot Noir, Ultraviolet Cabernet, and a 95 point organic vermouth under the MOMMENPOP label is my total inspiration for Decanted. Like the novel’s heroine Samantha Goodyear, my daughter quit her job at a big five accounting firm to go to France to learn everything she could about making wine. Like the main character in Decanted, she then moved to Napa and took a bookkeeping job at a winery before launching her own wine brand that’s sold across the US and in many countries around the world.

Samantha is a compelling character that was fun to follow. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?

I wanted to draw my main character as a young woman who, though she’s a total product of modern times, has a tremendous love and respect for those who came before her. Samantha also has a tremendous work ethic, and never veers from her quest to achieve her dreams.

Wine making and wine culture were intriguing parts of this novel. Why was this an important aspect for you to include in the story?

Many people would like to understand more about wine culture and the winemaking process but don’t know where to begin. My goal in writing the book was to seamlessly give readers a fun wine education and illustrate what separates a great wine that reflects what nature intended from a tricked up brand with ingredients and flavors added by the big corporate wineries to sell the most bottles possible.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

My next book is my novel Fore Play, a comedy set at a Los Angeles country club that will be available this coming summer.

Author Links: Facebook | Website

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From author Linda Sheehan, who’s part of a Napa wine dynasty, comes a story of grapes, wine, first crushes, and juicy redemption. Dreading the desk job that awaits her after high school, eighteen- year-old Vivian Goodyear takes off for pre- World War ll Paris, where she supports herself as an artist’s model.

Flash forward to modern day Manhattan where, inspired by Vivian’s courage, her grand-niece Samantha leaves her pressure cooker career to work the grape harvest in France. There, between picking grapes in the vineyard and crushing them in the cellar, she gets lessons in the art of making wine and in the art of making love. But when her world is turned upside down, a link from Aunt Vivian’s past could right it in a tale of being on top, sinking to the bottom, and coming up for glorious air.

A Light in the Darkness

Jessica Piro
Jessica Piro Author Interview

Ascension of the Phoenix follows a detective seeking release in street fighting, but success leads her down a dark path toward revenge. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The major inspiration was Leila Wells, herself. I wanted to delve into the notion that everyone has a dark side and what would happen if someone who is an upright figure gives in and falls. Now for the street fighting and fighting tournament, Mortal Kombat and the Tekken video games were heavy influences. Being such a fan of Law and Order: SVU helped me make Leila a detective.

Leila is an intriguing and well-developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character’s development?

She is who I wish I could be. An authoritative figure who is also fair and generous, and who uses her position for good. She doesn’t abuse her power. Doesn’t bow under pressure. Is physically and mentally strong. Someone who is in control of their emotions… well, sometimes.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Quite a few of them. One theme being the struggles against dark sides because Leila isn’t the only one. The different ways people deal with grief is another. Exploring how someone can lose who they think they are—their identity—and how they fight to come back, and how they sometimes change. And no matter how bleak or hopeless a situation, there is always hope/a light in the darkness—you just may have to wade through more darkness to reach it.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

The Dragon of Russia is the next book in this trilogy and will be available August 2021. Like I did with Ascension of the Phoenix, a companion short story will also be released in the Fall. It will be called The Crane’s Dance, following a new character that Leila meets in Russia, like how The Panther’s Pride is in Jamaal Gordon’s POV.

Author Links:

To rise from ashes, one must be a phoenix.
Detective Leila Wells has apprehended every criminal to cross her path, except for one. And when Bryan Foster returns, he devastates her world. To cope, she finds release in street fighting. Successes with her fighting partner grant them an invitation to participate in the Rulers of the Realms Fighting Tag Tournament. But as she fights, a power begins to rise within her—a dark and angry blaze urging her toward revenge.

The Early Years

The Early Years by [G. Carrington, Rachel]

The Early Years: A Memoir (Matters of the Heart Book One) by Rachel G. Carrington is an autobiography that tells the story of a young girl who was born in Kentucky in 1930. Rachel Gaylord is the oldest of eleven children, and she leaves home at seventeen. This book is a collection of short stories about her growing up and life as a young adult getting married and starting a family. These stories were taken from her journal entries that were written throughout her lifetime, beginning in her teenage years.

The Early Years is a heartfelt story of young love. Brad Carrington had an interesting story to tell Rachel after he walked her home from church, and it kept me wanting to read more. I enjoyed the descriptions of daily rural life in the 1940s, such as cooking on a woodstove, gardening, canning, and laundry, which were reminiscent of stories I have heard from my own grandparents about their experiences living on a farm. I could picture scenes similar to old family photographs I’ve viewed. Some of the stories in this book were of separate unrelated incidents, but most of the stories connect to others in a related chain of events. Many of the stories were humorous, including the wedding night chivaree.

This a touching memoir that explores a young couples relationships, and shares the high and lows one woman experiences. While I enjoyed the story, I sometimes had trouble connecting things because some events were not in chronological order. There are many interesting people that come into Rachel’s life, I thought it would be helpful if the author included a family tree to make it easier for me to connect all the people. Many of the scenes are delightfully detailed, but since this is a true story I had a desire to see what these people and places actually looked like and I would have really liked to have seen some photographs. 

I desperately wanted to continue reading Rachel’s story to find out what happened after she and Brad moved their family to northern Kentucky. This is where Book Two, Dreams Born; Dream Fulfilled, picks up Rachel Gaylord Carrington’s life story. The Early Years: A Memoir is an absorbing and emotional memoir that readers will surely enjoy.

Pages: 248 | ASIN: B08TQKHQPC

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Awakening

Awakening by [Jennifer Leigh Pezzano]

Awakening is a beautifully written and emotionally rich tale that weaves together the past and the present. Jezebel is a cleaner with a tragic past but life takes an unexpected turn upon meeting a new client, one Mr. August De Sanguine. Jezebel discovers that there is more to our world than she previously believed, but August seems to both pull her in and push her away. He has his secrets, but she does too, and she hopes to reach beyond the mask he has formed. Their fates are bound somehow, but their paths are tangled and winding, twisting together in ways neither of them could have foreseen.

Awakening is such an emotionally touching romance novel because of the way it addresses the human experience through characters and experiences that are more than human. The author touches on trauma, love, desire, sorrow, sex, and so many other aspects of the experiences of life. Even though many of the characters are otherworldly in some aspect, it is the deep emotional connection that the author weaves that allows the reader to relate to these characters and see our own sorrows, traumas, and desires in them.

Despite the sometimes quite heavy sentiments discussed by the narrative, Awakening also has an intricately layered plot that starts out relatively simple but grows increasingly complex and detailed. The world-building and mythology of the book is original and unique enough that it seems to outdo many popular franchises. Additionally, the story covers both past and present in a way that fleshes out the innate connections between the two. I found the extended flashback both enjoyable and informative as to the connections that make Jezebel’s and August’s story so magnetic and fateful. The story starts out what what seems to be a fairly simple love story but goes on to reveal some of the secrets of the universe and the origins of humanity as well as the power that lies within each individual.

Awakening is written in such a way that readers will forget that the story is fiction. Although the book is not action-packed, it is rich, well-imagined, and will keep readers turning pages. I highly recommend this book for those interested in romance and provocative philosophical ideas and theories.

Pages: 344 | ASIN: B08P5SMG3M

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Ascension of the Phoenix

Ascension of the Phoenix (The Phoenix Trilogy Book 1) by [Jessica Piro]

Ascension of the Phoenix is an adventure filled contemporary action novel by author Jessica Piro. Detective Leila is tasked with finding the serial killer, Bryan Foster, after he murdered eleven people. He didn’t technically murder the 12th person, but he heavily contributed and thus Leila blames him for that too. They were co-workers and that made it personal. Leila and her partner David are out celebrating a birthday when they get a call that Foster has been sighted. They race to the scene where things tragic and Leila is told to take a break and recover. During her recovery she meets Jamaal, a very compelling character, and gets invited to a fighting tournament. Jamaal and Leila enter the tournament as fighting partners. Will they win? Will Leila fully emotionally recover from that fateful night? And is the cost worth it?

I loved seeing the friendship between Leila and Jamaal develop and change over time. The only thing the same about them is where they live at the start of the book. Culturally, fighting style, philosophically, they are completely different. Compared to some other fighting pairs in the book (Shamus and Luke), they go well together, in a buddy-cop sort of way. Through the book they become close, but stay friends, which is was certainly a nice dynamic that makes their relationship much more absorbing. There’s no friend-zoning, no tension of unrequited love, just mutual care and support. Shamus and Luke are really annoying when in the same scene together (but this is probably intentional). My personal dislike for them gets dealt with and addressed in the book in a satisfying way, so the author does get points for that.

Ascension of the Phoenix is a character driven action story that takes readers in unexpected directions. Filled with interesting characters, concise and stimulating dialogue, all designed to accentuate the action and keep the story moving. Author Jessica Piro has created a strong female protagonist, that is self reliant but stronger with friends, and I found her character refreshing. I look forward to the next book because, although the story ends on a satisfying note, Leila is far from recovered. I MUST see the end of her journey. Ascension of the Phoenix is an exciting read with a satisfying ending.

Pages: 371 | ASIN: B08GL84FBQ

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Love and Other Moods

Love and Other Moods by [Crystal Z. Lee]

Love and Other Moods by Crystal Z. Lee follows Naomi through a disastrous turn of events that leave her alone in a foreign country. The reader is introduced to an endearing character named Naomi, who moves from New York City to Shanghai with her fiance. Naomi breaks off their engagement when she finds out he has been unfaithful to her. She stays in Shanghai and starts her life over. Now stuck in a foreign country she must learn the language, find a job, and learn how to get around Shanghai on her own. Readers follow her on mesmerizing journey through an exotic location, meeting people and seeing things that will keep you furiously flipping pages.

Author Crystal Z. Lee has artfully crafted an authentic story that captivated me from the moment I started reading. I loved Naomi’s character because she is portrayed as strong, fierce, and independent and she has a fun personality that was always interesting no matter the situation she found herself in. Dante was another great addition to the novel. He was funny and intelligent and I loved his presence. Lee’s writing is so vivid you feel as if you are in Shanghai. The descriptions of the streets of Shanghai, the exotic food, and the culture are eloquently written. This is important as the city is just as much a character in this captivating novel as Naomi is. We get to experience life in Shanghai through Naomi, and it’s always entertaining. The author takes readers on a cultural journey through the streets of old and new Shanghai; a place I’ve never been but have a desire to go now that I’ve read this book. Written from a third person perspective, the reader gets plenty of insight into the various characters in the book and you begin to understand and connect with them.

Love and Other Moods explores topics such as self discovery and falling in love all with a backdrop of Asian culture that I found to be delightfully charming. Love and Other Moods is a compelling contemporary romance novel that I heartily recommend.

Pages: 326 | ASIN: B08NTL2PGR

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Despite the Devil

Despite the Devil: A Romantic Women's Fiction Novel (They Loved Collection Book 1) by [Shawna James]

Stephanie is an English major student who works at a local high school to make ends meet. Beloved by her students and with a generous best friend who offers her a free gym membership, she seems to lead a perfect life. After an unpleasant encounter with a strange woman at the gym, Stephanie is unnerved and rushes back to school for her class when she runs into the new sports teacher, Andrew Simmons. Andrew is sweet and handsome and both are instantly drawn to each other. A crush soon develops into deeper feelings and these soon develop into love, and Stephanie learns the truth of Andrew´s past, a choice that he made that haunts him to this day. Despite his mistakes, Stephanie marries him and they form a loving family, but as they build their life together a strange presence looms over them both. Will they overcome it? Or will the ghosts of their past haunt them forever?

Despite the Devil by Shawna James is a passionate romance novel that follows Stephanie and her romantic endeavors. The story is pretty fast paced as Stephanie and Andrews’ relationship quickly progresses into marriage while still addressing the character’s past and mistakes. We get to witness how they meet, fall in love, and get married without it ever feeling rushed. This emotional story is not your typical romance novel as it integrates certain mysterious and even thrilling elements that make it much more interesting to read. While marriage is the endpoint in most romantic novels, in Despite the Devil it happens pretty early in the story and then focuses on their ups and downs as a married couple which, for me, was something that felt more original and intriguing. The author’s storytelling is quite fluid and easy to understand which makes for a quick and light read perfect for anyone unable to invest too much time or effort into their reading time. This is a novel that excels at getting you emotionally invested in its characters so that you care about the outcome of their lives. I think Despite the Devil is a very entertaining contemporary women’s fiction novel that I highly recommend for its absorbing story, lite but compelling mystery, and easy storytelling.

Pages: 192 | ASIN: B08L1G7PBF

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