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What’s Not True by Valerie Taylor (Book Spotlight and Author Interview)

 

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PG-13 + M What’s Not True has several sex scenes and some bad language.

 
 
With her court date set for her divorce and her plans with the younger man in the rearview mirror, Kassie O’Callaghan shifts attention to reviving her stalled career. But things get complicated when she unexpectedly rendezvous with her former lover in Paris. After a chance meeting there with a colleague and a stroll along Pont Neuf, Kassie receives two compelling proposals. Can she accept them both?

But Kassie’s decision process screeches to a halt when her soon-to-be ex-husband has a heart attack, forcing her to fly home to Boston. There, she confronts his conniving and deceitful fiancée—a woman who wants not just a ring on her finger but everything that belongs to Kassie. In the ensuing battle to protect what’s legally and rightfully hers, Kassie discovers that sometimes it’s what’s not true that can set you free.

Though a standalone novel, What’s Not True is the sequel to What’s Not Said (September 15, 2020).

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Bio
 
Valerie Taylor was born and raised in Stamford, Connecticut. She earned a B.S. Marketing degree and an MBA from Sacred Heart University, as well as a graduate certificate in health care administration from Simmons University (formerly Simmons College). She had a thirty-year career in the financial services industry as a marketer and writer. Valerie is a published book reviewer with BookTrib.com; and a member of Westport Writers’ Workshop, Independent Book Publishers Association, and Women’s Fiction Writers Association. She enjoys practicing tai chi and being an expert sports spectator.
 
 
 
 

Tell us about the WHAT’S NOT Series.

 
Currently, the series consists of two books—What’s Not Said (September 2020) and the recently-released sequel, What’s Not True. The series takes the reader on a journey with a middle-aged couple whose marriage has gone well beyond its expiration date. When Kassie, the wife, decides to escape with a younger gent she met in Venice, her husband’s unexpected illness derails her plans. Thus, she must decide whose life to save: her husband’s or her own. Once that decision is made, Kassie switches her focus away from the two men in her life to her career, embracing a dream that she can have it all. Not so fast. A woman from her husband’s past has other ideas, forcing Kassie to fight for what is legally and rightfully hers.

I have made a commitment with my publisher for the third and final book in the series. Release date to be determined. But it’s coming!
 

 

 

What challenges did you face in writing a series?

 
I created What’s Not Said as a standalone novel. It was only after several early readers asked what was going to happen next in the story and to the characters was I motivated and inspired to write What’s Not True. Because I hadn’t planned to write the series originally, I had to go back to What’s Not Said and check some of the details, especially when describing the characters. I also read the first book again to be sure I maintained the character’s voices.
 
Needless to say, I was all in on the series by the time I was writing What’s Not True, and thus, I was able to lay some groundwork for book three.
 
On reflection now, I wonder what would’ve changed in What’s Not Said had I had the forethought to plan a series from the very start? We’ll never know!

 

 

 

What reactions/feedback are you receiving from readers?

 
One thing I’ve learned as a writer is that not everyone loves our books. But there are 85 million mature women in America who are looking to read characters they can relate to. So there is an immense audience out there even if the book isn’t for a handful of readers!
 
I’m gratified, though, that both What’s Not Said and What’s Not True are being well-received. As a series, conventional advice from readers is that people read What’s Not Said first, so they get to know the twist and turns of the plot and the motivations of the very flawed characters. Then, I’ve heard a number say that when they read What’s Not True, it’s like sitting down with your best friends and having coffee or a martini!
 
Most recently, I’ve discovered readers buy both books at the same time, especially because they’ve developed a reputation for being a fast read. Readers want the whole experience in a short period of time! I’m thrilled to have been able to give it to them!

 

 

 

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

 
Between writing sessions, the story is always on my mind. I play out different scenarios of what comes next, so by the time I sit down to write, I’m off and running. So, I’d say writing energizes me and excites me. If you’ve seen Diane Keaton in the movie, Something’s Gotta Give, where she’s a screenwriter, the scenes where she’s jumping up with glee in her chair? That’s me.

 

 

 

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

 
One writing quirk I have is that I truly have conversations with my characters as their deeds flow through my mind and fingers onto the computer screen. I constantly ask, “What If?” In that way, they can take me down multiple paths until I, as the author, choose which is best for the story.
The other quirk I have surrounds jewelry. When I write, I can’t wear a watch, rings, or bracelets; but I must wear earrings. Now that’s a real quirk if I ever heard one!
 

 

 

Now, I’d love to hear from you. Here’s how you can reach and follow me:

 
 

And please do subscribe to my newsletter, Behind and Ahead, which I write with readers in mind:

www.valerietaylorauthor.com/subscribe

 

 
 
 

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Kissed by Death: Trueborn Heirs Series (Book 3) by Nyna Queen (Book Review)

The stunning finale to Nyna Queen’s original Trueborn Heirs Trilogy.

 

A terrible secret. An impossible choice. And a love worth dying for…

After the horrible disaster at the Summerball, Alexis Harper and her allies are running out of time. Not only has the murder messed up all their careful plans, but Alex is also threatened to become the focus of the investigations. In search of the missing pieces in this enigmatic puzzle, she and Darken embark on a perilous journey to an abandoned prison camp deep in the mountains — and make a discovery more shocking than anything they could have imagined. A discovery that, if revealed, will shake the country to its very foundations.

At the same time, the Spider and the Forfeit find themselves at an emotional crossroads. At this point, it’s all or nothing. But just as they reluctantly admit their feelings for each other, events force them apart and suddenly Alex is faced with a terrible choice: to run and safe her own life or to stay and fight for the truth and the man she loves, even if it may cost her life.

As Alex spins a crazy spider’s trap, one thing soon becomes clear—one way or another, she will end up being kissed by Death…

 

Buckle up for witty banter, steam, and plot-twists that will leave you breathless.

Kindle Purchase Link

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

 

Kissed by Death by Nina Queen far exceeded my expectations, and the bar was set pretty high after reading By a Thread (book one) and Web of Lies (book 2). 

Kissed by Death had suspense, explosions, life and death missions, mic drop moments, pain and torture, and betrayal. Finally, over a long wait, we had Alex and Darken locking lips and other body parts. 😀

These two, in joined or separate scenes, always kept me on the edge of my seat. When Darken made a person wet themself, I laughed because I knew it would happen. I love being right. (Name withheld to avoid spoilers). During the Master’s hissy fit, I could practically see the spit flying out of his mouth and Alex’s shit-eating grin. 

Every bit of this story was spectacular, and I can’t wait to read Josepha’s story; the summary is located in “What’s Next.”

Final note: I love Alex’s spider senses and her ability to run 30 miles without breaking a sweat. 

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score:  
❤ 

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About Nyna Queen

Nyna started reading fantasy books at the sweet age of six (in fact, as soon as she could read) and never got out of it. After she finished her law degree, she finally decided to commit herself to a career as an author. When she isn’t reading a book or dreaming up another story, she works as a lawyer, indulges in way too much coffee and enjoys long walks in the sun. If you are looking for Nyna, you’ll likely find her behind her laptop, hitting the keys, writing down her latest novel ideas – careful, if you speak to her now, she might not remember later!

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Espoused by Jean Marie Davis (Book Review)

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Espouse: (v.) to take in marriage; to make a marriage permanent by court decree; the court-approved process by which couples may stay together beyond the legal 15-year term.

In the contemporary world, fifteen years is considered the legal life cycle of a marriage. If a couple wants to stay together (married), they must hire a lawyer and petition the court to become Espoused.

After 14 years of marriage, Sara and Thomas Healy are still in love. Their decision to go to court to be espoused permanently is a source of great embarrassment for their children. Avery is ready for the benefits of uncoupling, and Sam really doesn’t need the social stigma of parents who decide to stay together, on top of everything else. Lame! Their espouse attorney, Gwen Stevens, has other problems. The judge for the Healy case is her nemesis, Carly Abraham, also known as “the Wicked Witch of the Bench.” Judge Abraham was previously married to Gwen’s husband Dennis, from whom she uncoupled after the allotted 15 years. She hates espouse lawyers on principle, and seems to have an extra dose of dislike for Gwen personally.

While the Healys struggle through the espouse experience—trial separation, uncouple counseling, and ongoing financial burdens—Gwen has to deal with the judge and her own struggles at home. In this fight for love, who has the answers?

Buy the Book
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add to Goodreads
 
 
 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours.  I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
 
 

In the real world, married life has no time limit. Some people stay together for decades, months, weeks, or even a few days. No one dictates how long you have to stay married. It’s all in the hands of a couple. However, Espoused by Jean Marie Davis has changed all the marriage rules. In this novel, couples stay married only fifteen years. Then, they must start the process of becoming uncoupled. I mean, it’s the law. Of course, they could choose to remain married, but the process is lengthy and a royal pain in the keister. There’s a trial separation, counseling for the kids, couple counseling, and TONS of paperwork. Plus, court check-ins — all in the name to stay joined. See, A PAIN IN THE BUTT! 


Unlike in real life, the majority of children in Espoused want their parents to become uncoupled. They want the two Christmases, parties, and separation gifts. In a conversation between a child and their parents, the child thought it was his fault the parents wanted to stay married. WOW, talk about a bizarro world! 


Espoused stated parents who stay together are considered “freaks.” Children of espoused parents are the laughingstock of the school. 


Espoused uniqueness is what drew me in and kept me turning the pages. It’s a book I will be recommending to others! 
 
Content Rating: PG for the subject matter of adult relationships/marriage/divorce, but there is no bad language or explicit sex scenes. For those who have cancer or have lost someone to cancer, some scenes might be a trigger for you. 

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤1/2
 
 
Meet the Author:
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Jean Marie Davis was born and raised in Huntington, New York. After graduating from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale, she moved back to Long Island where she worked in the Marketing Research industry for over 30 years. She currently lives in Centerport, New York close to her daughter and son.

Connect with the Author 
Website 
Twitter Facebook  ~ Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

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Smoke Before Fire by A.M. McKnight (Book Review)

Assaults, petty thefts, robberies—it’s all in a day’s work for Detective Tessa Leonard, a veteran with Reid County, Virginia PD. The detective is committed to her busy work life but not so much to a love life. Once disappointed after rushing into love, Tessa is in no hurry to pursue romance again.

Prosecutor Renee Hamilton is just as busy trying bad guys just as fast as Tessa and her fellow officers can arrest them. Long hours in the courthouse are more appealing to the dedicated attorney than anything offered by the County’s social scene. She, too, was once let down by love and is now reluctant to open her heart again.

But when simple vandalism escalates to arson and attempted murder involving ex-cons, drug dealers, and a bookie, things quickly heat up in Reid County. And to their surprise, the detective and the attorney find themselves in a slow-burn romance as Tessa and Renee discover there’s more to life when it comes to love.
Follow Tessa and Renee as they take down tough guys while taking on each other.

A.M. McKnight is also the self-published author of County Vices (2017) and Goslyn County (2015), both available at Amazon.com.

 

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

 

Television shows give us the impression that cases are solved rather swiftly. Smoke Before Fire by A.M. McKnight depicted what I would consider a real-life scenario of the highs and lows in a case. Smoke Before Fire is a work of fiction, but events that occurred could be taken straight out of the headlines — much like Law and Order does weekly. 😀

Smoke Before Fire didn’t have a happy ending for the criminals, but Tessa (detective) and Renee (lawyer) did get theirs. Their relationship was a slow-burn romance. Most lasting relationships fall into this category. 

I enjoyed Smoke Before Fire; however, I think I gained 5 pounds reading it. All the delicious mentions of food made me crave one snack after another. I even ate a couple of donuts in honor of Tug. 😀

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: 

Kindle Purchase Link
Print Purchase Link

 

 

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A.M. McKnight is a writer of fast, crime-action black lesbian fiction and lots of other cool stuff. 

Twitter: @wordmc46

Website: ammcknight.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ammcknightbooks

 

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‘What’s Not Said’ and ‘What’s Not True’ by Valerie Taylor (2 Book Spotlight)

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2021 International Book Awards Finalist in Fiction: Women’s Fiction
2020 Canadian Book Club Awards Finalist in Fiction
Chosen as an August 2021 Pulpwood Queens Book Club selection
Featured by the international NoMo Book Club in May 2021
 
 

What’s Not Said is a story about Kassie O’Callaghan, a middle-aged woman on a mission to divorce her emotionally abusive husband and start a new life with a younger man she met while on a solo vacation in Venice. When she learns her husband has chronic kidney disease, her plans collapse until she pokes around his pajama drawer and discovers his illness is the least of his deceits.

Then again, Kassie is no angel. The separate lives they lead collide head-on into a tangled web of sex, lies, and DNA. As she helps her husband find an organ donor, Kassie uncovers a secret, forcing her to decide whose life to save: her husband’s or her own.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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With her court date set for her divorce and her plans with the younger man in the rearview mirror, Kassie O’Callaghan shifts attention to reviving her stalled career. But things get complicated when she unexpectedly rendezvous with her former lover in Paris. After a chance meeting there with a colleague and a stroll along Pont Neuf, Kassie receives two compelling proposals. Can she accept them both?

But Kassie’s decision process screeches to a halt when her soon-to-be ex-husband has a heart attack, forcing her to fly home to Boston. There, she confronts his conniving and deceitful fiancée—a woman who wants not just a ring on her finger but everything that belongs to Kassie. In the ensuing battle to protect what’s legally and rightfully hers, Kassie discovers that sometimes it’s what’s not true that can set you free.

 

Buy the Book
Amazon Purchase Link ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Indie Bound
Book Depository

 
 
 
 
Meet the Author:
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Valerie Taylor was born and raised in Stamford, Connecticut. She earned a B.S. Marketing degree and an MBA from Sacred Heart University, as well as a graduate certificate in health care administration from Simmons University (formerly Simmons College). She had a thirty-year career in the financial services industry as a marketer and writer. Valerie is a published book reviewer with BookTrib.com; and a member of Westport Writers’ Workshop, Independent Book Publishers Association, and Women’s Fiction Writers Association. She enjoys practicing tai chi and being an expert sports spectator.

connect with the author: 
website twitter ~ facebook ~ instagram ~ goodreads

 
 

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