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Escape to the Biltmore Trailer

It’s 1895. Beautiful Dr. Anna St. James has won the battle to earn the M.D. after her name when her father dies, suddenly throwing her into great debt. After moving to a shabby boarding house on the Lower East Side of New York, Anna receives a marriage proposal that would cancel her father’s debt but would chain her to a man she neither loves nor trusts.

Desperate to escape, she applies for a position at a TB clinic in Asheville, North Carolina, close to the home of her friend, Daphne Vanderbilt, who invites her to spend Christmas celebrations at Biltmore Estate. On her journey Anna meets the handsome Dr. Richard Wellington. She is captivated by the dashing British physician, but she soon becomes convinced that he is like every other male physician at a time when the American Medical Association does not admit female doctors into its membership. Can they put aside their differences and allow their love to flourish?

Published in connection with Hartline Literary Agency, serving the Christian book community. Visit us at hartlineagency.com.

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Anticipating Temptation

I listened to this novel as an audiobook and thoroughly enjoyed the narrator’s voice and dramatic affect along with character voices. This sultry novel brought to us by Randi Perrin introduces us to Char Brown. She is a 30-something woman working at a magazine with her closest, and maybe only, friends. She admires the slim, physique of her best friend, Jenny, and begrudgingly attempts to eat salads in an effort to attain a slim physique of her own. She has a strange relationship with her boyfriend, one where he hides her from his mom, so she’ll allow him to continue living at home. When I heard that part, I knew that Char clearly struggles with her self-esteem and you see this theme permeating throughout the beginning of this story.

Things quickly change for Char as the boyfriend breaks-up with her, in a terrible way, and leaves her feeling low and unworthy. Fortunately, she has good friends who get her out and suddenly her world changes and she is caught in a web of seduction woven by a handsome cowboy type…who also owns a wine bar and has a literature degree! I absolutely love how Darryl is immediately drawn to Char. For anyone who has experienced love at first sight you know how that feels and that it exists. Some people might find it creepy that Darryl was able to hunt down her phone number in under 12 hours, but I understand that when that intense chemical attraction occurs there is nothing that will stand in your way. This book brought back happy memories of my own meeting with my husband and how it took me by surprise and swept me away. For that reason, I had an extra appreciation while listening to this story.

It is always refreshing to read romance where the male character is working hard to build the confidence of his female interest out of admiration and respect. He doesn’t just try to bed her but shows an interest in who she is and truly finds her beautiful. It is so common for a woman to experience low self-esteem due to the world and men beating them down. It is nice to see Char experiencing this affection and adoration and starting to realize her worth. There is definitely a kink in the sexy cogs where Char is disillusioned and brought back to her former beliefs about herself but that is totally normal, and I appreciated that it wasn’t all just roses.

I am not a drinker but there was a lot of wine knowledge embedded in this story that a true connoisseur would enjoy. There are a lot of sexy wine metaphors as well! There is a little erotic action, but it is done respectfully and not in a raunchy or distasteful way. This was a fun read with a beautiful and romantic story that got me feeling all warm and fuzzy and wanting to relive my romance all over again.

Pages: 126 | ASIN: B073HF2LG8

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Addicted to You

Addicted to You: Book 2 (SAPD SWAT Series) by [Mays, Nikki]

Michelle has known Damon for years. For years, Damon has known what Michelle could not possibly know–she belongs to him. When Damon’s stalking and pursuit of Michelle finally reaches its peak, Michelle can longer deny her attraction to Damon, and she gives in to her own curiosity. As Michelle and her best friend, Mellie’s, luck would have it, Damon is not the only one who has pursued and admired Michelle from afar for years. When what began as admiration turns to full-fledged obsession, Damon and his team are there for Michelle and Mellie when seconds count.

Addicted to You is the second book in the SAPD SWAT Series by author Nikki Mays. This second installment focuses on Michelle, co-owner of The Sweet Grind and best friend of Mellie. Mellie and her love affair with Morris were the primary focus of book one, and Mays has taken the same slant with book two shifting the perspective to Michelle. Written in first person and swapping between the two main characters, Michelle and Damon, the book hits on some particularly comedic moments as well as intensely romantic and sensual scenes.

As with book one, I enjoyed the shift in points of view between the two characters. Mays is adept at writing from each one’s perspective and helping the reader see each one’s thought processes. Damon, while intense, is a lovable character in his own right. Michelle’s reflections on his love for her further serve to build him as a favored character for readers. In turn, as Damon explains the passion with which he pursues Michelle, the reader is taken from wondering about his frame of mind to understanding his love for Michelle. Mays writes in a unique style that succeeds in quickly drawing in the readers and keeping them enthralled with the plot.

In both of the first two installments in the SAPD SWAT series, Mays steers the plot away from romance long enough to include an element of mystery. In Addicted to You, however, Mays seems to get to the point rather quickly. Even though I enjoyed and appreciated the mystery surrounding the drawings of Michelle left in the bake shop, it seemed the mystery was solved too quickly. I would have liked to have seen that aspect of the plot stretched out.

There is an undeniable quality of humor in Mays’s writing. She details a fantastic dynamic between her characters, both main and secondary. They have a rapport that is undeniable, and the entire group banters back and forth as true friends and siblings. Even their fights turn into comedic memories.

It is worth noting that there seem to be numerous punctuation and grammar errors in the reading. Only in a few places do these errors impact or interfere with the flow of the reading.

Author Nikki Mays writes an entertaining romance novel geared toward the new adult genre and succeeds in shaping lovable and memorable characters. Any fan of the romance genre will be pleased with the engaging plot and the sensuous visuals.

Pages: 150 | ASIN: B07J23W7JN

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Made of Stone

Made of Stone: Book One: Satori Stone Series by [Palmer, Desiree M.]

There are women of mystery, and then there’s Satori Stone. Satori is, in all truth, a mystery to herself. When she makes preparations to pack and sell her mother’s belongings following her death, Satori discovers she isn’t who her mother always made her believe she was.  As the days go by, Satori is hit with a new relationship–the relationship she has always wanted–and a realization about her own abilities.  Soon after the revelation of her own identity, Satori finds her life and that of her daughter, Sarah, threatened by a force she does not recognize. With the help of her friend and mentor, Naoma, Satori learns quickly who she truly is and how to control the gift she never knew she possessed.

Made of Stone, by Desiree Palmer, is a truly unique blend of mysticism, fantasy, and romance. Main character, Satori Stone, is thoughtful and introspective and has all the makings of a stand-out figure for a series. Palmer has begun, with this book, what promises to be a string of books in which readers will be afforded the opportunity to watch Satori grow and prosper in her newly discovered skills.

Satori’s reactions are genuine throughout the book. Palmer writes in a real and raw manner of the heart-wrenching moment when Satori discovers the truth about her parentage. In addition, Satori’s emotional crisis on the plane with what could be the man of her dreams reflects every woman’s self talk and contains highly relatable moments of nervousness and apprehension.

The friendship Satori has with Naoma is unique and enviable. The two are as much family as they are friends, and Palmer does a nice job of dragging out Naoma’s connection to mysticism. Even though I had some notions early on about Naoma, I appreciated the slow reveal of Naoma’s truth and, subsequently, Satori’s truth.

As this is the first book in a series, I am looking forward to seeing the full story on Darvey, Satori’s new love interest. He intrigues me. Palmer has successfully created a character who could easily, down the road, be a hero or a villain. As much as Satori wants him to be the answer to her prayers, I wanted to see a hidden truth in his actions and his questions. He stands as an enigma and, for me, really makes the story more fascinating.

The whole aspect of mysticism is captivating. Naoma’s explanation of the power within oneself is eye-opening. Palmer definitely builds a case for the mystics of the world with the character of Naoma. She, aside from Darvey, is my favorite character in the series thus far.

I didn’t like the speed with which Satori is forced to use her abilities. As the first part of the book has a much slower pace leading up to the reveal of powers, I would like to have seen Satori struggle a bit more to get a grasp on her newfound skills. It felt to me as if the pace picked up quickly and some opportunities for character development were missed. All in all, Made of Stone is a fun read with a compelling story line and memorable characters.

Pages: 203 | ASIN: B07HLHHG7N

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Literary Titan Book Awards November 2018

The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.

Literary Titan Gold Book Award

Gold Award Winners

Mortgaged Goods by [Cobcroft, Lorraine]Lifeliners by [Vucak, Stefan]Encore: A Contemporary Love Story of Hypnotic Abduction (The Agents of the Nevermind Book 3) by [Bensko, Tantra]

American River: Currents: Book Two of the American River Trilogy by [O'Connor, Mallory M.]FUTURE WORLD ROLLS!: We Are Family (Carousels of Life Book 2) by [Tumbler, Terry]The Spell (The Shaman's Lover Trilogy Book 1) by [Kemm, Georgina Lucy]

Dagger's Destiny (Curse of Clansmen and Kings Book 2) by [Tanner, Linnea]Aeon Rises by [Cronin, Jim]Survivors of the Sun: A post-apocalyptic thriller by [Kingslie, Mia]

Daisy, Bold & Beautiful by [Collins, Ellie]Mall Hair Maladies by [Volchko, Kristy Jo]

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

Antebellum Struggles: Slavery, Lust and Suspicion (BOOK ONE) by [Erman, Dickie]

Extinction 6 by [Kouros-Mehr, Hosein]Dark Karma: Sword of Vengeance by [Simmons, Laura]

The Dead Wake Horror Collection Vol 1 by [Douglas, Ellie]A Monk's Tail by [Spencer, Kyle]

The Hunt for the Three Roses (The Three Roses Trilogy Book 2) by [Hubbard, Jason]Inevitable dreaming by [Dröge, Dave]

Going Dark (Gabriel Jets Book 1) by [Grace, Jolene]The Zimbabwean War of Independence - My experience as a civilian by [Hatendi, Jonathan]

 

Visit the Literary Titan Book Awards page to see award information and see all award winners.

 

A Billionaire In The Bargain

Moira Carruthers inherited the reins of her family’s charitable foundation only to find her father embezzled millions before his death. Ashamed and determined to make things right, Moira decides to use her own trust fund to replace the money. There’s just one problem. Moira can’t touch the trust until she turns thirty or marries. It seems she needs a husband…fast. She’s always been too busy with school and working to date and she has no prospects. There’s only one thing to do. Run away. A week on a Caribbean cruise should give her time to come up with a plan. She never expected the answer to her problems would stroll onto the deck of her ship.

Jackson Kennedy has made billions in businesses and his next acquisition is an exclusive cruise line in the Caribbean. Spending all his time behind a desk or traveling for business hasn’t left much time for romance. Until his Army Ranger brother is killed in action and Jackson winds up with custody of his special needs niece. Suddenly, Jackson has a pressing need for a wife and mother for his niece. He plans to close the deal with the cruise line fast and then look for a wife. He never expected to find the perfect candidate right under his nose.

What starts as a marriage of convenience could turn out to be the greatest love Moira and Jackson could ever find.

Pages: 123 | ASIN: B07J1YN2PR

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Rises from Humble Beginnings

Carole Penfield Author Interview

Carole Penfield Author Interview

Midwife of Normandy follows young Clare as she struggles to save her family and career from France’s tyrannical king. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?

An avid fan of history, I researched 17th century religious persecution of Huguenots by King Louis XIV and was surprised how few historical fiction novels had been set during this turbulent period (as opposed to numerous novels set in other times, like Tudor England.) I also noted that many historical fiction authors focused on women of royal or aristocratic blood as protagonists.

I wanted to do something different, so I created a Huguenot female protagonist, who rises from humble beginnings and dares to defy and outwit male authority, including the King’s soldiers.

After visiting Rouen and the beautiful countryside of Normandy, I felt certain this was the perfect location for my book.

I didn’t think being a midwife could be so interesting and this novel definitely caused me to look more into the profession. Why did you choose this profession for Clare in the story?

Let’s face facts; there weren’t many professional options available to 17th century women. It was widely held that their only proper role was marriage, absolute obedience to husbands, and bearing of children. Midwifery was almost exclusively performed by females, but was looked upon as a lowly trade.

In order to rise above her humble beginnings, Clare decides to offer her services, using a secret ancestral formula for pain-free birth, exclusively to wealthy members of the aristocracy who reward her handsomely, thereby turning midwifery into a lucrative profession.

Clare is a fascinating character that continued to develop as the story progressed. What were some themes you wanted to capture in Clare’s character?

Throughout history, women have struggled against many prejudices. What I set out to achieve was to create a strong, ambitious young woman who sought to control her own destiny. In a sense, Clare was an early pioneer for female equality in 17th century France, as she sought a career. However, she knew she was also obligated to marry in order to bear a female child to carry on her ancestral midwifery heritage.

At first, dewy-eyed young Clare is disappointed when her romantic childhood sweetheart leaves the country and she is coerced into marrying his older, dull brother. However, she turns out to be much stronger than her husband, even to the point of secretly using birth control until she decides the time is right for bearing children. And she is the one who must bravely plot their escape from France.

Another minor theme is the conflict a career woman faces between spending time with her children and working outside the home. A feeling of guilt. This balancing act continues through the present day, so it is a universal, contemporary theme.

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

The second novel in the series, Lucina’s Destiny, is now available on Amazon.com. It follows the exciting adventures of Clare and her family as they settle in England.

Author Links: Website | GoodReads

Midwife of Normandy (Secrets of the Austen Midwives Book 1) by [Penfield, Carole, Lady, A]Clare Dupres, ambitious young Huguenot midwife living in turbulent 17th century France, struggles to save her family and career from the terrors of tyrannical King Louis XIV.

On the brink of womanhood, she records in her journal the grand plan for her perfect life–marriage to the man she loves, renovation of mysterious Maison Dupres as her home, and a rewarding profession. The key to her plan lies in “the magic elixir,” her ancestors’ secret formula for pain-free childbirth, which she offers solely to wealthy aristocratic women.

But King Louis’ increasing pressure on Huguenots to convert to Catholicism shatters Clare’s dreams. Her lover forced to flee France, she is compelled to marry his boring brother. Then she is banned from practicing midwifery. Yearning to continue her profession coupled with fear that her children will be kidnapped by Papists, Clare tries to convince her stubborn husband to move to England, but he is blind to the growing menace. When danger lurks in the form of the King’s dreaded Dragonnade soldiers, she must summon all her strength and determination to save her family.

Can Clare succeed in getting her family safely out of France before it is too late?

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Mall Hair Maladies

Mall Hair Maladies by [Volchko, Kristy Jo]

Mall Hair Maladies by Kristy Jo Volchko is a delightful throwback story that will take 80’s kids down memory lane. The book follows Tanya, the new kid in school, Randi, and their single parents. The two meet and quickly become inseparable best friends. Volchko describes a year in the life of two 13 year old girls in 1980’s America. Volchko delves into “a day in the life” right down to big, crimped, hair-sprayed hair, fingerless gloves, and arms lined with multi-colored jelly bracelets. The biggest obstacle in the girls’ lives is finding a way to go to the local Madonna concert. She’s their idol, and they will do just about anything to hear her belting her songs in person.

Volchko writing feels like a genuine first-hand account of crazy events told across a dinner table. Grammar and spelling are impeccable. Everything flows perfectly. Characters were well developed, with each one having enough background story for readers to get a good grip on who they are. The setting and different scenarios were described well. Volchko has a way of making you feel like you are right there with the characters mixing up things in the kitchen, having an awkward dinner with an uptight relative, or smoking in the girls room. I felt invested in her characters and their lives.

I loved the throwbacks to the 1980’s. I lived them, and the essence of that era was captured perfectly. Readers from that time will relate to the characters. They will see themselves and reminisce over their own 80’s stories. I love the real references to the music and fashion of the time. It was a simpler time in many ways, but pop culture, music, and fashion were anything but simple.

The story is a nice throwback to a safer time for kids. They could hop on a bus unattended and go all over town and return relatively unscathed. They had little fear of anything bad happening to them at all. Bad things happened, of course, but they didn’t seem so frequent. Volchko conveys that time of simplicity and relative safety very well. I’m not so sure the story would have played out the same if it was set in today’s world. It was nice to escape back to that time for a little while.

I love how easily the girls become best friends. I think we sometimes forget how simple that was as children. Two strangers implicitly trusted and loved each other without the bat of a fake eyelash, just because they did. They met. They liked each other. Simple.

Without getting too heavy, Volchko exposes some problems that commonly arise in families. These aren’t 80’s problems, but timeless problems. Tanya has an absent father, and Randi has an absent mother. Tanya’s grandmother is judgmental, hateful, and a huge source of stress for the family. Volchko shows how the characters deal with those issues. She gives examples of difficult family dynamics and how the characters navigate those storms. She also gives some hope with the introduction of a less dysfunctional family toward the end.

I’d recommend this book to anyone in middle school and up, though 80’s kids may appreciate it the most. I couldn’t have asked for more out of this book. Volchko has made me a fan. I loved the story. I loved the characters. I loved the writing. I would love to read more of her work.

Pages: 265 | ASIN: B079SQYLRZ

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Destiny Revealed

Destiny Revealed by [Tremayne, Eleanor]

Gabby awakens in the ocean, frostbitten, alone and confused. As we get to know Gabriella Girard Blair we hear about her painful past and how it has propelled her life and lead her to this beach, washed up. Her most recent tragedy is losing her best friend and “female soulmate” and it seems that this is too much for her to handle. She has disappeared from her life, purposefully. She left behind a lifeless marriage and a life that seems haunted by her past. An old friend comes back in to her life and is determined to help. This is a love story, but it is also a story of self-discovery and the twists and turns in our lives, those moments that define us, changing feelings, and changing relationships and those that stay the same no matter how much time passes.

Eleanor Tremayne does a great job capturing the complexities of her characters’ relationships, which span over decades. She gives the reader an inside look into the mindset of her characters, so you can understand how their relationships and dynamics play out. The writing flows well and is not overly dense. She is a great storyteller. I love the poems that the author includes at the beginning of each chapter. They give you a little hint about what this chapter might include.

She wove the different characters and their pasts together seamlessly. If you are a fan of great character development, you will love this book. At times there were a lot of names to keep track of because she goes in to some details about their backstories and histories but once I was engaged with the characters it was fine.

There are some graphic scenes and graphic language, so this may not be appropriate for younger readers. The ending is intense and sad but has a great arch with all her characters. I loved how it ended and was hoping throughout that it would work out that way.

This was a romantic story without being over-the-top or cheesy. I also very much enjoyed how the main character was on a path of self-discovery and healing and how we got to experience how she processed this. A great original story with romance, heartache, trauma, friendship, and love. This was a fun and easy read that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Pages: 372 | ASIN: B07D9YQ8BP

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Made of Stone Trailer

Made of Stone introduces readers to Desiree Palmer’s first fictional creation, Satori Stone. She is a carefree and witty single mother living in the Midwest. She embarks, unwillingly, on mystical journey being torn between good and evil. Her world begins to spin out of control when she goes home to visit her mother for Christmas. Her quirky neighbor Naoma and a stranger she meets along the way quickly turn into her new life support system. She will face a decision to accept her new fate and learn to use her natural powers or lose her family forever. Will she decide in time?

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