Monthly Archives: August 2016

Sizzling Frio by Dakota G. King (Book Review)

Sizzling Frio mirrors the oxymoronic relationship that develops when a coed Natalie Carroll and a college football player Josh Tyler literally meet face to face on the banks of the Frio River in the Texas Hill Country. Sparks ignite, and they embark on a tempestuous ride through spiraling small town politics, Texas nightlife and Friday Night Fever, where they find the natural destiny of their love in turmoil just like the river’s many white-water runs. Although coincidental meetings in college stoke the embers still lingering from their first encounter, Josh’s desire to play professional football thwarts their union. Caution and frustration prevail; Natalie relocates; then fate intervenes several years later when an injury ends Josh’s career and they reunite to discover the attraction between them resurfacing. Can the scorching desire they share, however, overcome the mixed signals, emotional wounds, and the conniving interference of a scorned lover?

(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 
In the summer of 1993, Natalie and Josh both ended up spending their vacations at Frio River. A place where you can kick back and just enjoy nature, friends, and family with no electronics and no running water. Ok, the lack of running water would be a buzzkill but you still have the river to wash up in. Beggars can’t be choosers, right? 🙂
As for vacations go, the scenery is breath-taking and the story proved to have promise until Josh talked. The more he opened his mouth, the more I began to dislike him. 
He blatantly admitted to using women and their families to further his career. How anyone could think this behavior is ok/justified and not hurtful to others is beyond me.  Oh, wait until you read the proposal scene. Trust me, you won’t be saying awww. Instead, you’ll be yelling, “What an asshole!”
Even after a six year gap, he hadn’t changed at all. I really hoped Dakota would’ve thrown us a curveball and paired her up with Matt — permanently. 
For me, Josh’s lack of respect for a woman’s feelings  almost caused me to give this book a ZERO. The only reason why it scored a ONE was for the memories it stirred in me about my days swimming in murky water with my friends and family. 
Those were great times. 
Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Purchase Links:  Print / Kindle
author pic

Born and raised in south Texas, Dakota G. King began writing in 1998, using the knowledge gained from a BA in English and history from Texas State University and thirty-six years of teaching in public schools in various Texas towns. However, teaching and raising a family allowed only sporadic efforts until retirement provided the time for the challenge of writing more often. Inspired by many novelists, especially Laverle Spencer, the intricate ties of various cultures in Texas and family encounters, she felt compelled to capture the experiences from her life in Sizzling Frio, her first contemporary romance novel.

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Author Showcase/Interview and Review of “Inevitable” – Lindsay Boyd

Welcome, Lindsay Boyd 

1. For those who might not be familiar with you, would you be a dear and tell the readers a little about yourself? How did you get your start in the writing business?

(Lindsay) I am originally from just outside the city of Melbourne in Australia and nursed the ambition to be a writer from an early age. I set myself the challenge of writing a novel at the age of twenty and succeeded by hook or by crook. It may not have been the greatest novel in the world but at least I demonstrated to myself that I could muster the self-discipline necessary to achieve such an aim. In my twenties I wrote some other novels and also penned a number of screenplays. While I received plenty of encouraging and positive feedback it would a number of years before I began publishing material.
2. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, please share how you handle it.
(Lindsay) Where I am concerned this is almost a N/A question. But if stuck in any kind of writing rut I adhere to the same philosophy I apply to a difficult patch on a long-distance run, ie, I ride out the storm and carry on regardless. Blocks or ruts pass. It is  simply a matter of working your way through them.    


3. Contrary to what some people envision about a writer’s life, it’s not all glitz and glam. Well not for the majority of us. With that bubble sadly busted, when you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
(Lindsay) Many writers would have ‘day jobs’. I certainly do and I doubt I would want to give them up even if I could. I am a personal carer and a traveller as much as I am writer. Work as a personal carer / community development worker was my way of making ends meet for numerous years and I continue working at that these days. I have lived and worked in numerous intentional community settings all over the world. Spirituality is very important to me. I have been in the habit of daily meditation for more than twenty years. As far as leisure time activities goes, I enjoy reading, music, films, photography, running, swimming, other languages and cultures, to name just a few.
4. I know many writers, such as myself, keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to you know you write? If so, what are their thoughts?
(Lindsay) Yes, they do. Since it is an integral part of who I am it would be hard to keep it a secret. I think for the most part those in the know appreciate my efforts, which is gratifying. There may also be equal parts astonishment that I have kept for so long at something that has been for me essentially a non-paying enterprise. Fortunately I learnt long ago not to concern myself overmuch with the question of how much money I might or might not earn from writing. 
5. Will you share with us your all-time favorite authors? If you’re like me, it’s a long list so give us your top ten.
(Lindsay) Hermann Hesse / Fyodor Dostoyevsky / C. P. Cavafy / Yukio Mishima / Nikos Kazantzakis / Albert Camus / Erich Fromm / Marilynne Robinson / Jhumpa Lahiri / Kazuo Ishiguro
Kam: I’m not familiar with all these authors so thank you for giving me ideas of who to check out next. 
6. If you could choose one book to go to the big screen, yours or otherwise, which book would you choose and whom would you love to see cast in the parts?
(Lindsay) Screen adaptations of books are arguably best kept to the work of genre fiction writers. As a writer of literary fiction I find this a tough question to answer. I generally believe the two mediums should steer clear of each other, though I have seen competent renderings of literary fiction books I like. I never write a novel with a view to the screen. What I do write with a view to the screen are screenplays, but only when I feel I have an idea that would translate okay and / or is best fitted for that.
7. Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.
(Lindsay) The recently released Inevitable is the first novel of an anticipated trilogy of self-contained works whose underlying link is thematic, principally the theme of new life. Aside from the second book of this trilogy I am also working on a novel titled Marginal, which takes as its starting point the death under suspicious circumstances of a long-term homeless Irishman and how this event impacts the lives of the diverse group of individuals with whom he came into contact in his final year. Concurrently, I plan to work on a couple of screenplay ideas and see what if anything comes of those.     
8. Where can we find your stories, and is there a particular reading order?
(Lindsay) I have published shorter pieces, both fiction and non-fiction, in numerous print journals and ezines. I have three books on smashwords, a two-part ‘travel memoir’ and also a book of stories. A few years ago I self-published a trilogy of self-contained novels on the theme of healing and reconciliation. The second was later published in ebook format by Brisbane, Australia based Books one and three and the original version of the second can be found on amazon, etc. The three components of that trilogy could be read in any order, I feel, though there is a progression in the treatment of the theme.

9. Would you please share how your present and future fans can contact you?
(Lindsay) A good place to commence might be my Facebook author page.  Then there is my blog / siteThe most direct route of all, however, would be my personal email address:
10. Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.
(Lindsay) There is much to like about the writing life, as hard as it can be to earn a crust as a writer. But I would encourage anyone who feels they have this vocation in them to give it a go. The freedom to be able to work anytime, anywhere, is not to be sniffed at. In essence it is as down to earth as grabbing a pen, or a pencil, and a piece of paper (most things I write I prefer to write by hand in the first instance). Another great thing about writing, for me, is that it is a sublime meditative pursuit that never fails to take one within – hopefully to the discovery of more resonant ‘truisms’ than those obtainable outside oneself. My life would never have been the same without it.  
~~ Closing Remarks ~~  
Ladies and Gents, I hope you enjoyed my interview with Lindsay Boyd. If you have any questions or comments for Lindsay, by all means, leave him a message below. However, before you drop us a line, please take a moment and take a gander at Inevitable. Genre: mystery/suspense


Having recently completed a twelve-year-prison term for a horrendous crime committed when he was fourteen, Vanburn Holding pitches his hopes for a new life in an intentional recovery community based in northeast Thailand. On the eve of his departure for Asia an encounter with an ailing American high school girl on one of the beaches of his Caribbean island home threatens to derail his plans. Van, however, contends with this frightening occurrence and upon journeying to Asia and establishing himself in the community setting makes great strides in fashioning the mode of life he has envisioned for years. But his past catches up with him, bringing the realisation that things left undone at home for too long cannot remain in that state. He therefore acts to take responsibility for all his actions, not simply those with consequences more easily borne.

(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 
When I read a book, I notice my mood reflects the undertones of what I’m viewing. For the most part, Inevitable is a depressing read which, in turn, turned my happy mood — sour. 
I realize the subject manor wasn’t intended to elicit feeling of happiness. I went in with my eyes wide open on what I would be facing. Murder, missing teenager, is not light reading material at all. However, my main issue isn’t with the plot but how it was carried out. 
The characters didn’t really display any real emotion. Lindsay didn’t create enough emotional connection between his characters and the cases discussed in the book. 
For example, if your child goes missing, a normal reaction would be tears….. buckets of tears. I don’t think the majority of us parents (caregivers) would be taking a dip in the pool. Lindsay had Gloria’s family more concerned about public image than anything else.  Their detachment caused me to experience no interest to their plight, which is the adverse reaction a person should feel. Right?
As for Vanburn, no feelings expressed there either. When he “spoke” I heard it all in a monotone voice. Actually, as I was reading each page, I heard the man from the old Visine commercials in my head. (If you aren’t familiar with him/it, google it.)  Boring, lifeless, and I’m afraid to say so was this book. 
Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 



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Deceptions by Dana Mansfield (Book Review)

Jack Petrov, lead singer of a successful rock band, is spending the Thanksgiving weekend with his wife and children in the Poconos. He has been out of the limelight for two years after a terrible car accident that resulted in the deaths of two of his children. Traveling with the family is the children’s nanny, Penny Shepherd. Penny and Jack have been best friends since their days at Princeton. After a verbal fight with his wife, Jack orders Penny to drive him after he gets buzzed in the lodge’s bar. Before they can return, they are abducted by kidnappers hired by someone called the Employer. Although treated okay at the beginning, their treatment worsens as the Employer demands information from Penny. After the truth is revealed, the Employer leaves after a final goodbye and Penny and Jack are left to try and survive, still as captives.

(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 
I must warn you, before you decide to purchase Deceptions, you are in for page after page of torture. The gruesome acts against Penny were more brutal than anything Jack endured.
Why, you may ask? Because she took the brunt of any defiance by him and because the mastermind behind their abduction hated her with a passion. 
Penny suffered blows from a sledgehammer, sexual assaults, burns, and the grisly list goes on. It was very difficult to read. Yes, Dana described it all in much detail which takes talent. On the other hand, the book was nearly start to finish with one deplorable act after another. 
For her writing capabilities, I do respect the imaginative skill behind such an emotionally draining story. However, for me, all the violence became too much to take. 
I, like Jack and Penny, wanted a reprieve from the torture. The times they did have a moment to recover, they pondered who was the mastermind — the Employer. For the boss, I was hoping I’d be surprised who’d be unveiled. Unfortunately, I wasn’t. 
I’m sure you won’t be shocked who comes to visit them. 
I also want to make note Deceptions ends with a cliffhanger. I can’t imagine how much more these two can endure. I almost afraid to find out. 
Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤1/2
I was born, raised, and still live in northwest Iowa. I enjoy the intricacy and problem solving of creating stories and thankful to have achieved remission from leukemia to have the chance to see my literary dreams come to fruition. I teach reading to at-risk high school students and spend my time writing, watching cooking and clothing competitions on television and being an overprotective mom to my two cats, Boots and Joey.

Feel free to visit my website where you can find more of my writing –

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Lady Gallant by Gini Rifkin (Book Review)


Disowned by her father and still mourning the death of her fiancé, Josephine Posey joins Florence Nightingale’s brigade of nurses bound for the Black Sea. Thousands of British soldiers desperately await these angels of mercy and a new life awaits Josie. Amidst the chaos of death and despair, she finds a spark of hope, lighting the flame once more inside her soul.

In search of the truth, Garrick Allen, one of Britain’s first war correspondents also journeys to the Crimean Peninsula. To him the soldiers seem all but abandoned by Queen and country, and as he smokes his cheroots and makes friends with a bottle, he writes his bold but honest dispatches for The Times. Not wanting anything more than to finish his job and go home, Garrick is blindsided by a nurse with attitude who offers him a new slant on life and a reason to love.

(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)  
With any war, we are well aware of the horrors the brave men and women face on the battlefield. However, we sometimes overlook or take for granted the doctors and nurses who treat the fallen soldiers. They, too, feel the pain of combat. They get attached to their charges, lose friends, and push on to “fight” another day. 
In Lady Gallant, Posie fought to heal the soldiers while attempting to keep their spirits high. A prime example was the Christmas tree she procured for them. She didn’t have to but it was in her nature to go the extra mile. 
Mose (her invaluable helper) was equally dedicated to his job, too. It was a shocking and sad moment when Cholera took hold of his body. The love bestowed upon him while in his sick bed was extremely touching and showed his worth in the eyes of his friends. 
Garrick: He started off gruff but it didn’t take long before he showed us his romantic side. He could easily be described as a  knight in shining armor because he literally rescued Posie on more than one occasion. 
The last time solidified their relationship which ended with……. you guessed it, a happily ever after. 
Now if I had to change one thing about this story is would be to add more moments with Posie’s best friend, Gemma. 
Their interactions added a bit of lightness to a rather (at times) intense story. 
Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
 Score: ❤❤❤1/2

Gini Rifkin writes adventurous romance, past present, and into the future. Her settings include the American West, Medieval England, Victorian England, and contemporary fantasy. When not reading or writing, she has the privilege of caring for a menagerie of abandoned animals including ducks, geese, rabbits, goats, donkeys, and cats. She was born and raised in Illinois where she went to school to become a registered nurse. When struck by wanderlust, she moved to Colorado and met her husband Gary. They shared the journey for 30 years, spending vacations canoeing, doing Mountain Man reenacting, and traveling around this great country. Although Gary has passed on, he left her with the skills to soldier on alone, and a little bit of him lives on in every hero she creates. Her writing keeps her hungry to keep learning new things, and she considers family and friends her most treasured of gifts.



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Love on a Train by Colleen L. Donnelly (Book Review)

The moment Martha noticed Raymond on the train, everything her mother warned against erupted – romantic notions, palpitating heart, the desire to write it all in a novel and tell the world. Martha lived and wrote that love story until the day Raymond handed her a sketch. “Want to see a picture of the girl I plan to marry?” The penciled profile resembled Martha… But when Raymond went away, she knew. She wasn’t the girl he planned to marry.

David was her father’s apprentice, everything Martha’s mother said made a good husband – hardworking, no romantic nonsense, no tolerance for writing about it. Martha added a fictional happy ending to her and Raymond’s story and published it. Cleansed herself of romantic love, and prepared to marry David. Until a copy of her book appeared. Full of sketches – Raymond’s version of their love story, drawings that enticed her heart to beat once again – for the wrong man.

(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 
You know the saying, “If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they’re yours; if they don’t they never were.” (Richard Bach)
The quote summarizes Love on a Train beautifully.
As with any true love story, this one had a happy ending. 
Maybe not for their Martha and Raymond’s respected fiancés. 
As much as I enjoyed the near misses between Martha and Raymond, the love story within a love story (<— confused? It’ll make sense after you start reading the book), I empathized with the hurt the fiancé’s suffered. 
Martha didn’t handle the situation with David very well. She knew her heart belonged to another, went about finding him, and that speaks volumes to a marriage that’s slated for doom before it even gets started. And Raymond, he didn’t handle things any better. 
With that said, Colleen hammered home an important point. In life, we should never settle. Marriage is a serious commitment so before you say, “I do,” be certain. Make sure you are on the right path for you. For your fiancé. 
 Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5
Score: ❤❤❤1/2



Colleen L. Donnelly has her roots in the rural Midwest of the US, but moved around and explored other cultures as an adult. Those other areas were fun and they were exciting, but…there’s no place like home, so she’s back in the Midwest.

Colleen works as a laboratory technician by day, but spends her evenings writing, poised in front of her laptop until she can’t think any more. Her story ideas come from observing people, pondering their dilemmas, and adding a twist of her own.

Other interests are/have been bicycling, antiquing, anything outdoors, furniture refinishing, and raising pets or small barnyard types of animals. Last thing in the world she would be caught doing – “vegging” in front of a television. She loves a good movie on occasion, but most of the time, the TV is off.



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