Monthly Archives: February 2019

Author Showcase – Zol Predosa (Books 1-4, the Rails series)

~~ Book ONE: Karen ~~

Gordon’s adventures begin looking for scrap metal but finding adventure. Karen was a wild, free woman who wanted out of this town. She was ready to do anything and burn the bridges behind her.

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~~ Book TWO: Claire ~~

Claire draws Gordon into the decisions of a reckless couple. A husband and wife both trying anything to entertain one another. Is Gordon the last or just another piece of scrap in their pursuit of distractions.

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~~ Book THREE: Elle ~~

Elle was a beautiful colorful woman caught in a gray cage of a house. Would meeting Gordon be the way for her to escape her quiet life?

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~~ Book FOUR: Harper ~~

The final installment of the Rails Series. Harper is not what she seems, but she’s found a way to deal with a loveless husband and a mundane way of life with friends. 

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Zol Predosa has been a writer, director, and has “done many of the small roles that surround us during our day-to-day lives occupied by people that are interesting, dramatic, sensual, and often go unnoticed in our everyday lives.”

Zol is excited to write about them in the erotic series beginning with “Rails,” the exciting times of a man who thought collecting metal would be boring. It’s not. 

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Author Showcase – Sandy Barker (The ‘Someone’ Series)

 A heartwarming and hilarious travel romance, book one

Sarah Parsons is on a mission to find her former fabulous self, the adventure-seeking traveller with a massive bucket list.

Step one: Trade in her cheating ex—a.k.a. the most boring man in the world—for a new leather handbag and a trip to Greece.

Step two: make her life bigger.

Step three: try not to panic while completing steps one and two.

Humiliated after discovering her boyfriend with her yoga bestie, Sarah breaks up with them both and decides it’s time to fall back in love with her first true love—travel.

She books the perfect trip to revive her humdrum life—ten days sailing the Greek islands on a yacht. Salty air, blue skies, the quiet pace of island life, and maybe making new friends—idyllic.

But if one more well-meaning person says she might meet someone in Greece, she’ll smack them upside their well-meaning head. Even the thought of starting again with someone new is exhausting. It’s the last thing she wants.

So, what will happen when she meets not one ‘someone’, but two?

As the sails catch wind, Sarah and her fellow travellers explore the stunning Cyclades Islands, all while she finds herself drawn to the cute American guy who makes her laugh and shares her longing for a bigger life. And when it turns out that there is more to a brief encounter than she originally thought, Sarah wonders if a flirtation with the silver fox could turn into something serious.

Should she dive into a holiday fling, embark on a relationship, or stick to her plan—steer clear of men, enjoy a love affair with feta, and find her own bigger life?

Ten days, two men, one boat, and one big decision.

 

Eve, Amazon Customer, 5⭐: I loved this book! From the very first page, I felt like I was on this incredible trip to Greece with a friend. And a really good friend, at that. The characters are so great, the food was amazing, and the views were spectacular! I felt like I was right there along with Sarah and the rest of the “family!” I loved how easy it was to get lost in this book, and how easy it was to laugh along with our main character and friends. Such a well written and fun read. I loved every minute of it and I cannot wait to find out what happens in book 2 and 3!!!

Angie, Amazon Customer, 5⭐: If you’re looking for a romance book about adventure and finding love when you aren’t looking for it, then this is for you. The characters are realistic and you get to experience the struggles and thoughts of a woman who’s debating whether she should trust her heart or her head. Not only will you want to travel to Greece after reading the vivid descriptions of the scenery and food, you’ll also get a new appreciation for living in the moment.
 
Jonelle, Goodreads Contributor, 5⭐: What a delicious journey around the Greek Isles! I found myself devouring the mouth watering food and savouring the visual feasts right alongside the protagonist, Sarah. Beautifully written, full of interesting characters. I couldn’t put it down. Have added sailing the Greek Isles to my bucket list. Can’t wait for the sequel!
 

 

A heartfelt romantic comedy, book two

Sarah’s topsy-turvy love life takes flight in book two of the ‘Someone’ series. She’ll explore London, jet off to Hawaii, and head from her home town of Sydney to New Zealand—all in the name of love.

Each destination evokes something special, and each teaches Sarah more about herself.

You will meet some wonderful new characters and spend more time with some of your faves from book one, You Might Meet Someone. Join Sarah as she makes the biggest and hardest decision of her life.

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Mia B, Amazon Customer, 5⭐: What a great sequel! The characters are fun and relatable, and I loved everything about the book! I can’t wait for Book III.
 
Karen, Goodreads Contributor, 5⭐: The heart wants what the heart needs. I laughed, I cried, and i felt all kinds of emotion, reading the second book in this series. What a beautiful story! For anyone who has ever been in love…..this story is for you. Find yourself in the delivery of life portrayed by the author. Learn to feel love all over again!
 
Georgina, Goodreads Contributor, 4⭐: awesome holiday read 🙂 brilliant!

 

 

 

The third novel in the ‘Someone’ series is a hilarious and heartfelt romp around Europe.

(Release Date Pending)

Cat Parsons is on the run. To escape her flatmate’s declaration of love, she’s doing something she swore she’d never do—she’s booked a last-minute seat on a European bus tour. Two weeks, forty-seven countries, or something like that.

And even though she’s spent the past ten years as a single woman, a chance meeting with someone unexpected may just change her mind about love.

Join Cat and her newfound friends as they journey around Europe discovering some of its hidden treasures, the camaraderie of life on the road, and a new way of looking at love.

 

 

 

I’m a writer and traveller with a lengthy bucket list and cheeky sense of humour. As a traveller, I love exploring new places, outdoor adventures, and eating and drinking like a local. My aim in life is to go, see and do – and then write about it. 

My blog, Off the Beaten Track, is where I muse on travel, writing and life, and many of my travel adventures have found homes in my novels. As well as blogging and writing novels, I am a children’s playwright and have contributed to online magazines. I am also a professional content developer and editor. 

My first novel, You Might Meet Someone, was published in December 2017. In 2018, my partner and I left Australia for a year’s sabbatical, living and working in Bali, the US, the UK, and Portugal. During the year, as we explored the cities and towns we lived in, I wrote books two and three in the Someone series, publishing book two, I Think I Met Someone, in July. Book three, Someone Unexpected, will be published in early 2019.

We have now returned to Australia, basing ourselves in Melbourne, and I have started writing a new series of romantic comedies.

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Review of “Stranded in Love” – Victoria Grant

If a gold medal was awarded for ‘Worst Day Ever’ Laney Calderone would win it today, hands down. She’s just discovered she’s pregnant, her fiancé abruptly dumps her when she tells him, and her new car refuses to start as a brutal snowstorm hits Toronto.

Good Samaritan Tyler Hammond offers to take her home; however, with the heavy snow falling and his patience dwindling, Laney’s gold medal day isn’t over yet.

Storms intensify both outside and in as Laney finds herself inexplicably attracted to this tall, dark and very handsome but infuriating stranger.

Can Laney fight her unwanted yet increasing desire for this man long enough to get through the relentless storm? And will Tyler let her walk out of his life as easily as she came into it?

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“Need any help?” a deep voice penetrated the howling wind.

Laney heaved another sigh as she looked up and saw someone approaching. “No, of course not!” she snapped, in no mood for stupid questions. “I often come out here late at night during raging blizzards to study the complexities of my car engine! Would you like to join me? Perhaps later we could pop into the coffee shop down the street for a latté and scone, just to finish the evening off right.”

A low chuckle escaped the stranger’s lips. “All right, as you seem to have the situation under control, I’ll leave you to it. Goodnight.”

“Wait —” Through the swirls of snow Laney was now very much aware of the man approaching. Her eyes took in his massive shoulders hidden beneath a black leather jacket, and as he got closer, her gaze wandered higher taking in the full lips creased in a smile, a finely chiselled nose and steel grey eyes that seemed to be twinkling, then thick, dark curls which refused to be flattened by the huge, wet flakes.

“Sorry…this hasn’t been a great day for me and now this! Not my idea of fun.” She stamped her feet in a futile effort to thaw her toes.

His smile widened. “What’s the trouble?”

Was he completely dense? “If I knew that, would I be standing here freezing to death apologizing to a total stranger?”

Her stinging reply didn’t seem to bother him as his laugh broke the snowy silence. “Now, now,” he scolded. “Let’s start again. I’m Tyler Hammond. And you are?”

“Cold, tired, hungry, and fed up.” She didn’t bother adding pregnant, it was none of his business.

He raised an amused eyebrow. “Charming.”

Laney treated him to her most withering glare, then checked her watch. “Look, it’s getting late and I’d like to get home. Can you help me or not?”

“I’ll call you Jane. That’ll make this a little easier.”

“Jane? Jane? I don’t think so! I’m Alaina Calderone. Call me Laney.”

“Hello Laney. It’s almost a pleasure to meet you.” He grinned.

She shivered once more as Tyler turned his attention to her car. “Let’s have a look. Any idea why she won’t start?”

“How should I know?” Laney rapidly came to the conclusion that Tyler Hammond was a complete moron.

“It is your car. I thought you might know something about it.”

She stared at him. “Is there a new law I don’t know about that states Ontario citizens must be licensed mechanics to own and operate a motor vehicle in this province?”

“It would help,” he said dryly.

“Well, unfortunately, I left my mechanic’s handy roadside repair manual at home tonight.”

“Too bad. You could certainly use it now.” He leaned over and examined a few of the engine parts. “Is the key in the ignition?”

When she nodded, he climbed behind the wheel. Laney heard the painful whirr again and sighed heavily, realizing to her disappointment that Tyler Hammond was no mechanic. Still, her hopes weren’t high.

He climbed out of the car and smiled far too cheerfully for her liking. “Nope, she won’t start.”

“Brilliant deduction! Any other extraordinary insights you’d like to share with me, Sherlock?”

“You’re not earning many points for Miss Congeniality, you know.” He tried unsuccessfully to hide a smirk.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

I’m going to break this review up into two sections.

 

First 100 pages: Laney found out she was pregnant, told her fiancé (whom she didn’t actually love), and he (Ramone) was furious so he called off their engagement. Tyler is in the process of divorcing his wife, proceedings that aren’t going smoothly at all. By chance or by fate, Laney and Tyler’s paths cross on one snowy night in Canada.

They are stranded together for almost a week in his apartment. They mostly argued but they did have many moments when they got long famously, in other words they “made love.” “Made love” was not a word I wanted to use but it was thrown out there. Honestly, how can you “make love” to a person you don’t know. Tyler had no clue Laney was pregnant with her ex-fiancé’s child. Another thing that bugged me, on day six (6), when the snowstorm had passed, Tyler was furious Laney was leaving him because he wanted to discuss their future. The man isn’t even divorced yet; his divorce isn’t drama free, so why would he even contemplate another relationship.

Even if I could get past the numerous fights, childish insults, I couldn’t overlook the secret bun in the oven and the not yet finalized divorce.

 

 Next 100+ pages: After Laney returns home, she’s immediately thrown into more stressful situations. Her mother is attempting to control her, her ex-fiancé want to marry her again, Tyler won’t let up on her, and she’s had to endure a heated confrontation with his (Tyler’s) estranged wife. As Victoria Grant, the author, made very clear.. stress is not good for a baby.

There were obviously times I felt compassion for Laney and her situation. However, for the majority of the book, I didn’t like her or her character. For some reason, she just left a sour taste in my mouth. I wasn’t a fan of Ramone either but I think most people won’t care for him and that’s Victoria Grant’s intention. Tyler, well, I didn’t really love or hate him. Really, I had no feelings regarding his character either way. Yes, he was a Good Samaritan and kept Laney safe in the snowstorm. On the other hand, he was too pushy for my liking. In my opinion, a man shouldn’t propose marriage when he’s still technically married. And, Laney shouldn’t have had sex with him without telling him she was pregnant with another man’s baby. Basically, they both made a bunch of bad decisions.

With all that said, I will give credit to Victoria Grant for writing a story that had plenty of drama because life is full of drama. Also, the book ended on a happy note. There was a surprise revelation along with the happy announcement but I will refrain from discussing it. I think Tyler’s reaction to the shocking disclosure sums up my feelings regarding the situation perfectly.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤

 

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Born in England to a Lawrence Welk-loving mum and a Monty Python-loving dad – tea drinkers all – we moved to Canada when I was seven. “Say book, say look” my new classmates would hound me just so they could have a good chuckle at my accent. But being incredibly shy, this was a great way for me to make friends. 

My love of words and a creative imagination prompted English teachers to urge me to write for a living, especially after I received a letter from the Prime Minister who thanked me for writing to him!  That was pretty awesome for a twelve-year-old! 

Through the years, I wrote all types of stories while I earned a living as an Administrative Assistant in various businesses including a bank, a car rental firm, an ice cream company, and a pharmaceutical manufacturer. I was more than a little peeved when I discovered none of them gave out free samples! I went on to own a Wedding Coordination business for six years (talk about romance!), all the while being happily married to the love of my life.

These interesting jobs plus wedded bliss gave me oodles of ideas for romantic plot lines, tall, dark and handsome heroes and feisty, beautiful heroines, and, of course, the happily ever afters. 

So amidst endless cups of strong tea while Cole Porter tunes and the dead parrot sketch whirl around in my brain, I write romances with a dollop of humour. I have an irresistible need to create captivating characters whose lives I can make completely miserable before giving them their happy ending.

I currently live in Mississauga and spend time with family and friends, and struggle daily with the wine and chocolate that somehow magically appear in my house…

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Author Showcase – Alex Bailey (The Future Memoir of Ann Jones: A Time Travel Romance with a Splash of Magic)

How can Ann Jones be a widow before her husband is even dead?”

Ann Jones knows the difference between a daydream, a fantasy, and a vision. 
She’s a decent, middle-class mom with a respectable husband and two kids.
And a “wild imagination.”

But what kind of decent woman imagines her husband dead, a relocation across the country, a new career, the perfect boyfriend, and most importantly, Knitting Club?

Not just any old Knitting Club. This one has rules—not one of them concerns knitting. 

Ann listens to the club members’ stories, becomes entangled in their lives, obeys their rules, and keeps her suspicions to herself. 

Her independent existence is an awakening. Ann Jones has changed. 

So what happens when she wakes up?

 

Steel Magnolias meets Stepford Wives. Moving, powerful, enchanting, and brimming with a glorious cast of characters; this is a joy. 

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“There are rules. Never to be broken.” Freda looked Ann directly in the eye, and said, “Number one rule— never miss Knitting Club.”

Ann wondered, but not for long, what the consequences of missing a session might be, but Freda broke into her thoughts with, “Deadly consequences.”

Oh, is that all? Ann thought it might be something more serious like you’d be responsible for hosting the next meeting or be forced to eat more of Freda’s cooking.

The look on Freda’s face made Ann realize she was serious, which also made Ann want to burst out laughing. She looked around the circle, but no one was laughing. All heads remained lowered. How can these women take blankets and scarves so seriously? After all, it’s just knitting.

But it wasn’t just knitting. Knitting had very little to do with this knitting club.

“What are the other rules?” Ann wanted to know, since the first one was so pleasant.

Freda sat back down and relaxed her demeanor. “There are but two more.”

Ann looked expectantly at Freda for the answer.

“In time, Ann.”

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Karen, Goodreads Contributor, 5This is a great book! Interesting suspense that keeps you guessing until the end! It’s a very different premise that’s a pleasure to read. You’ll also need some cookies to munch on as you read!

 

Brigitta, Goodreads Contributor, 5The first thing that drew me to this book was the cover. I like cute covers. Couldn’t pass up on the puppy and cookies. When I first started the book I was not sure if I was going to enjoy it. But, then I reached a point where I could not put the book down. I lost some sleep with this book. Yes, we spent the night together. The author kept me engaged, wanting to discover more about this knitting club and their rules. The women each tell a heartfelt story which forms a bond with the reader. The characters are well-formed. The story is written well with a few chuckles. The recipes sound delicious. They are a nice bonus. I definitely recommend this one.

 

Jeff, Amazon Customer, 5The Future Diary of Ann Jones is well written and has many levels— romance, mystery, recipes, and humor. Made me smile. The female characters within the knitting circle share their own personal stories that pull at your heart. The action builds to a twist at the end. A good read.

 

John, Amazon Customer, 5Recommended by a friend and far afield from my normal interests, The Future Memoir proved well worth my time. Really fun read – perfect for summertime. The “vision” of Ann Jones transports the recent widow to a new town, new friends, and very new experiences. Curiously, her new acquaintances have more in common than pets, socializing together and their own common backgrounds. Coincidence? The book kept me guessing until the surprising twists at the very end. I’m looking forward to Ms. Bailey’s next adventure.

 

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Alex Bailey was a bored writer/editor of documents as monotonous as vacuum cleaner manuals.  She left that life behind to create more exciting worlds than the one she lived in. The Future Memoir of Ann Jones is the first book under her assumed identity. She also writes children’s books under the name of Hoot N. Holler. When Alex is not listening to friends reveal wild stories about their future, she tends to her organic garden while belting out show tunes. Alex and her husband started the garden with the intent to donate fresh organic food to their local food bank, and so far, it has been a smashing success. Ironically, Alex does not have the patience to sit still long enough to knit. But, some of her favorite hobbies include: embarrassing her children in public with her rhythmically-challenged dancing, cleaning the small disc around the stopper of the bathroom sink, and dallying. 

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Review of “Once Upon a Romance (A Dream Come True Book 1)” – Alex Bailey

The first book in A Dream Come True series is a heart-warming holiday romance set in “The Most Magical Place On Earth.”

Christmas. Disney. Romance. No greater magic.

When Sophie’s eight-year-old niece, Ariel, asks Santa Claus for a single wish to honor her mom’s memory, Sophie knows she must grant it. Unfortunately for Sophie, Ariel’s wish is to ride her mom’s favorite ride on Christmas day, and it’s at the last place on earth Sophie wants to visit—Walt Disney World. It will be the first Christmas without her sister, and reliving childhood memories of her best friend is not how she wants to spend her holiday. Sophie’s only desire is to spend Christmas on the slopes with her reliable and stable beau, Darren, who has reluctantly agreed to postpone their trip until the day after Christmas. 

But when Sophie runs into a charming stranger, who offers up his extensive Disney knowledge, he instantly becomes her hero. A wave of relief washes over Sophie—he may just be the one to give Ariel the magical experience she desires. And, even though Sophie doesn’t realize it, he may be exactly what she needs too.

Can a bit of Christmas magic help this ruggedly-attractive stranger win Sophie’s heart when she believes it already belongs to Darren? And will Sophie continue to allow her painful past to haunt her, or will she let it go?

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“Can I help you?” asked a quite attractive man wearing Mickey Mouse ears and a Mickey Mouse Hawaiian shirt, standing a few feet away from them. His broad shoulders and almost-black close-cropped beard and mustache completed his rugged outdoors-type look. He was the exact opposite of Sophie’s type.

Oh good, a concierge! “Yes, please.” Sophie was drawn into his smiling deep-brown eyes. “Could you point us in the direction of the restroom?”

“I’ll do you one better. Follow me.” He headed away from the Christmas tree with Sophie and Ariel in tow.

Ariel dumped her bags and ran in while Sophie tried to gather them. She needed to be in the restroom with her niece, Sophie didn’t allow Ariel to go into public places alone. But with her own luggage, she wasn’t able to manage it all. She looked at the concierge, muscles bulging under his short sleeves. He looks strong enough to carry all this. “Would you be able to take these bags to the check-in station while I tend to my niece?”

“Sorry?”

His confused look made Sophie wonder if Disney had slacked off of their standards of only hiring the chirpiest employees, or rather as Disney referred to them, cast members. “The bags?” She dropped everything back on the floor, except her cross-body purse.

“Okay, I get it now!” he laughed heartily. “You think I work here?”

“Well, don’t you?” She looked him up and down, as though her scan of his outfit proved the fact that he did, indeed, work there. When her gaze rested on his face, there was something pleasingly familiar about it. “The Mickey Mouse Hawaiian shirt? The ears?”

He eyed her as if she’d just said his foot was growing out of his nose and then shook his head. “You’ve never been here, have you?”

Annoyed at his insinuation, she said, “I have. But it’s been a while.”

“Well, stick around. You’ll see a lot of things here that you don’t see in everyday life.” Then he winked and said, “And you may just see some magic if you keep your eyes and heart open to it.

 

(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

I absolutely adored Once Upon A Romance by Alex Bailey. It, without a shadow of a doubt, captured the true magic of Disney.

If you’ve never been to a Disney park, I know you’ll be booking a vacation there after you read Once Upon A Romance. Alex Bailey’s love for Disney shines throughout the story. If you have been to a park before, then I’m sure it’ll bring back fond memories of your time there. It did that for me.

Like Sophie, Ariel, and Ray, I stayed at the Animal Kingdom resort. I didn’t go during the Christmas season but my time there was no less magical. Like Ariel, I was captivated by the wildlife grazing below my balcony. The resort is pricey but well worth every penny.

Disney is ‘The Happiest Place on Earth’ for a reason. It brings joy to hearts, no matter what age, gender, ethnicity, color, and so on. Disney is all about love and happiness. Once Upon A Romance was all about love and happiness as well: the love for a deceased wife/mother/sister/daughter, the love for a deceased fiancée, the love and compassion a child expresses for everyone, and the love blossoming between two people.

I just can’t praise Alex Bailey enough for this feel-good book. I encourage everyone, young and old, to read Once Upon A Romance. It will warm your heart and make you smile.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤❤

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Alex Bailey was a bored writer/editor of documents as humdrum as vacuum cleaner manuals. She left that life behind to create more exciting worlds than the one she lived in. The Future Memoir of Ann Jones was the first book under her (absolutely necessary) assumed identity (in order to hide Ann Jones’ identity). When she’s not dreaming of being swept away to “The Most Magical Place on Earth,” she’s tending to her organic garden while belting out Disney tunes. Some of her favorite hobbies include: telling her children that “Mother knows best,” attempting to convince woodland creatures to clean her house for her, wishing upon stars, and Disney-ing.

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