Friday, October 21, 2016

BOOK NOOK REVIEW of "Torn Canvas" by Donna K. Weaver

Donna K. Weaver’s “Torn Canvas”

Great, complex characters, and tension-driving story elements, make author Donna K. Weaver’s “Torn Canvas” a sweeping novel readers can get lost in. 

Olivia Howard, a media celebrity, overcame a challenging past to get where she is, and she now wants to use her platform to present stories with substance. But what have her producers assigned her? A fluff piece about up and coming models—frivolous lightweights. Especially the blonde, Finnish-born Juri Virtanen, a Viking-handsome adonis with a reputation for using his cover model looks to lure women. Lots of women.

But after studying Juri’s headshot, Olivia senses a vulnerability in his eyes, a theory that is strengthened when she gets a tip that Juri risked his own life to pull a mother and child from a car in the path of an oncoming train. Juri becomes the story she most wants to tell.

Juri’s self-loathing has its roots in his dark past, leaving him a calloused rogue unable to build relationships. His conscience gets stirred when a group of cruise ship friends, real people, adopt him into their loving circle. When the group goes off on an excursion, pirates take over their catamaran, kidnapping some, and killing others. In the ensuing battle to overpower one of the captors, Juri’s face, the source of his career and infamy, is badly damaged.  

The catastrophic experience tears lives apart, cements friendships, and places an interview with Juri at the top of Olivia Howard’s must-do list. The support his new friends offer him rips a crack in Juri’s cold heart, allowing personal healing and growth to occur at time when his professional life is in tatters.

“Torn Canvas” explores what matters. It’s a great story of the power of friendship, and how kindness and love can give a person the courage to rebuild a life from the tatters of the past.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Author Spotlight: Marlene Bateman, and her new release, "FOR SALE BY OWNER"

Marlene Bateman is a busy, talented author of both fiction and inspirational non-fiction. She always delivers something special, and I think readers are going to find that her track record of successes continues with "For Sale By Owner."

AND . . .  Marlene's publisher is allowing us to give a copy away to one of our guests today. So, leave a comment below about the book, and you'll be entered in a drawing to win either an ecopy, or a paperback if you live in the U.S. The winning name will be drawn after midnight tonight! Now, on to the book.

Here's the back cover blurb:

Stressed by a year of intense, ongoing problems, McKenzie Forsberg decides to quit her high-powered job and move back to her hometown. Determined to rebuild her life, Kenzie desperately needs the peace and security she is sure will come from buying the home she grew up in. But when she arrives in town, Kenzie discovers that a handsome widower, Jared Rawlins, has already put an offer on the house.  However, he can only close the deal if he sells his own house by Christmas Eve.  

When Kenzie unexpectedly runs into a couple who are considering buying Jared’s house, she unthinkingly gives them information that changes their mind. Jared, who had been more than a little interested in Kenzie, has second thoughts when he begins to believe Kenzie may have deliberately tried to sabotage the sale of his home. Feeling bad, Kenzie apologizes but the damage may be too much for their relationship to overcome.

Despite his misgivings, and Kenzie’s own concerns, sparks of attraction between Jared and Kenzie grow into something more. Then, Kenzie makes a stunning discovery about her past. In that moment, everything changes. Will the power of love be enough to bring Jared and Kenzie together and allow them to find their happily ever after?


“What made you decide to move to Lake Forest?” Kenzie asked.
“I’ve always loved it here,” Jared said. “It’s a beautiful area, and there’s a special atmosphere here. People are so friendly. I guess part of the reason I came is because I needed to go someplace new and kind of start over, you know?”
            Kenzie did know. That was exactly what she was doing now. She’d gotten over Larry, but she needed to go someplace new and reinvent herself and her life.
“Now let me ask you,” Jared said. “What made you decide to come back?”
            “A lot of reasons. I need a fresh start too. I’m tired of the hectic pace in Chicago.” Impulsively she added, “Also, I had to get away from my job at Midwest. A guy was causing some real problems for me—” She stopped. Their eyes met and lingered. Jared’s compassion was evident and the expression on his face kind. She felt so comfortable talking with him—as if they were kindred spirits. Something in her heart softened into a spreading pool, and she smiled at him.
Tearing open his packet of Oreo cookies., Jared took one and dunked it in his hot chocolate.
Kenzie frowned. “Figures. You’re a dunker.”
“And I bet you’re a twister.”
Snatching up a cookie, Kenzie twisted it open and took a bite of the creamy middle. “Ummm.”
Jared shuddered. “That’s wrong in so many ways.”
Picking up her mug and warming her fingers, Kenzie sipped her hot chocolate. “This is wonderful!”
“It’s a secret recipe—been in my family for generations.”
            “No, but it sounds good, doesn’t it?”

You can get "For Sale By Owner" here:

For Sale by Owner is available at Deseret Book and Seagull Book and can also be purchased online at:
Seagull Book


Marlene Bateman Sullivan was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and grew up in Sandy, Utah.  She graduated from the University of Utah with a Bachelor's degree in English. She is married to Kelly R. Sullivan and they live in North Salt Lake, Utah with their two dogs and four cats. Marlene has been published extensively in magazines and newspapers and wrote the best-selling romance/suspense novel, Light on Fire Island. She has written three other mysteries; Motive for MurderA Death in the Family, and Crooked House.

Marlene has also written a number of LDS, non-fiction books:  Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines, And There Were Angels Among Them, Visit’s from Beyond the Veil, By the Ministering of AngelsBrigham’s Boys, Heroes of FaithGaze into Heaven; Near-death Experiences in Early Church History, and The Magnificent World of Spirits; Eyewitness Accounts of Where We Go When We Die.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Guest Blog Post with RRBC Spotlight Author, A. M. Manay, Author of the "November Snow" series.

I'm pleased to host one of RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB's Author Spotlights. My guest is paranormal author A.M. Manay, whose most recent release is She Lights Up the Dark, book two in her well-received November Snow  series. 

A.M. prepared today's post, so without further adieu, I'll pass the pen to A.M. Manay!


"Long Live the King"
by A.M. Manay

Below is an online news interview with Luka Lazarri, vampire king and the primary villain in my November Snow Series.  The piece is set at the beginning of She Lights Up the Dark (November Snow Book 2)Spoiler alert!  At the start of the second book in the series, he has just taken over the fairy and vampire kingdom once ruled by his father, Ilyn.  Be advised that Luka plays fast and loose with the facts here as he attempts to spin events to his own advantage.


Maria Carson for the Kingdom News Service: Your grace, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us during this busy transition.

Luka: Of course, Maria.  A king must always make time to speak to his people, especially during difficult moments.  I know many of us are in deep mourning after the slaughter so recently perpetuated by my father, Ilyn.  Our dead and injured in Las Vegas and in Arizona cry out for justice.  I want to assure you that I stand with you, and that every measure is being taken to address the threat posed by the former king and his supporters.  We are working simultaneously to bring stability and order to the Kingdom after so many decades of Ilyn's, shall we say . . . haphazard rule.

MC: I understand that state leaders have now all pledged fealty.  Is that correct?

Luka: Indeed, Maria, I have the full support of local vampire and fairy leadership, thought there are still small pockets of unrest in isolated areas.  They will soon be quelled.

MC: Is it true, your grace, that Lady Savita and her son Gregory, former Lord of California William Knox, and former Premier Hazel participated in the wanton murder of their fellow fairies and vampires in Arizona, as ordered by Ilyn?

Luka: Sadly, it is true, though the guilt must be borne primarily by Ilyn and William.  They, alas, took advantage of the loyalty and trust of their subordinates.  If Savita, Gregory, and Hazel wish to pledge loyalty to the new regime and to repudiate my father and brother, I am prepared to offer them pardons in light of their many years of service to my mother, Marisha, the last legitimate ruler of the Kingdom.  I urge all our citizens to keep vigilant and to report any sightings of these former leaders who have so betrayed their duty.  Ilyn and William have shown that they pose a grave danger to all of our citizens.  Anyone assisting them will share their fate.

MC: Your grace, there have been many rumors about the so-called "Oracle," November Snow.  What can you tell us about her?  Are her precognitive gifts confirmed?  Is she also a fugitive from justice?

Luka: Ah, dear November.  She is yet another innocent victim of my father's dangerous temper and lust for power.  I am pleased to say that she is now a vampire, and I have rescued her from Ilyn's grasp.  Her gifts are indeed remarkable, and she will soon be joining my court as an advisor.  I am keeping her temporarily out of the public eye in order to give her time to adjust to her new life as a vampire.  As you know, those early days can be . . . challenging, and I wish to spare her the additional burden of public scrutiny as she finds her way.  Rest assured, she is now one of us, and my most trusted allies are taking very good care of her.

MC: Is there anything else you'd like to share with our viewers, your grace?

Luka: I would encourage our dear citizens to focus on rebuilding and preparing for the next phase of our Kingdom's history.  It is our destiny to take the reins of power from the human government, and our moment of triumph is nearly at hand.  We have already achieved a revolution.  Revelation and rule will soon follow.


So, what do you think of Luka's attempt at spinning the events at the end of She Dies at the End and at the beginning of She Lights Up the Dark?  And who should play him in the movie once I get discovered? ;-)

Brief description of She Lights Up the Dark

A frightening vision stalks November, even in her grave . . . and things go severely sideways just as soon as she claws her way out of it. 

Continuing the story begun in the well-received paranormal romp "She Dies at the End," "She Lights Up the Dark" finds November Snow struggling to adjust to her new life as a vampire with none of the support she'd expected. Her nemesis Luka has plotted to isolate November and scatter her allies as he executes his plan to bring human society under his control. Her loneliness leads her to become emotionally entangled with a charming but likely untrustworthy fellow vampire. 

When danger flares, November discovers that her psychic gift has expanded in a powerful and perilous fashion. Coerced into close company with her enemy, she fights to master her power and to uncover the secrets that may help her to save both her friends and the human world from being crushed under Luka’s boot. November is determined to stop Luka as his plan builds toward an unknown and deadly climax, but she may find that lighting up the dark comes with a high price to pay. 

This books contains violence, some sexual content, and occasional profanity.

Author Links for A.M. Manay
Twitter: @ammanay

Fan email list  November's News:

Monday, October 10, 2016



I have a fun surprise to share with you. 

To celebrate the beginning of fall, 
Ive teamed up with more than 40 fantastic  inspirational/contemporary romance authors 

PLUS a Kindle Fire to one lucky winner!

You can win my novel, 
The Dragons of Alsace Farm, 
plus books from authors like 
Rebecca Talley and Julie Carobini. 

Enter the giveaway by clicking here:

The contest runs from October 10 to the 17th!

Good luck, and enjoy!

Laurie (L.C.) Lewis



Thursday, September 15, 2016

Review of "On The Corner of Heartache and Love" by Lisa Swinton

LAUNCH DAY!!! On the Corner of Heartache & Love is here!

Maren's stuck at the intersection of heartache and love, but happily ever after might be just around the corner.  

Author Lisa Swinton delivers another sassy, sweet romance that keep readers turning pages. On the Corner of Heartache and Love is a light, fun read with spunky characters and a plotline beset with wonder and woes. 

After three years of dating, Maren Summers is about to have her dream wedding to the man of her dreams, Kevin Bryant. In fact, all her dreams are about to come true in every facet of her life. That is until Kevin dumps her at the altar, runs off with someone Maren is very close to, ruins that relationship for her, and becomes her new boss. And she’s relinquished her apartment. What???

Now homeless, Maren moves in with best-friend and pastry protégé, Cassidy, whose apartment overlooks a park where a real homeless man loves. Or is he? 

Clean, handsome, and well-supplied, Zane Whitfield is on a mission to keep a promise to his lost love, even if it means spending a year outside on the spot where they met and where he hopes she’ll return.

Maren sees his tale of devotion as a great human interest story, and her ticket out of her newspaper’s now agonizing “Weddings” beat, away from her former fiancé’s control, and on to the job she’s really aiming for—“Features.” 

But along the way, Maren breaks the cardinal rule of journalism—don’t get involved with the story. The key to the story is helping the handsome Zane find his lost love, but Zane also appears to be the balm for her own broken heart. Career, or another chance at love? She can only have one.

To Maren’s ongoing dismay, her wedding beat takes her to some of the most “creative” weddings of the season, and Swinton places the reader right in these fun scenes, using descriptions and details that add depth and dazzle to the story. Her characters develop and grow and keep you cheering for their happiness. But there is tension around every corner.

Readers ache as Maren is repeatedly forced to witness Kevin’s bubbling joy with his new wife. But Swinton balances Maren’s agony and Zane’s pain with the solace they each feel in finding someone who understands. This compassion balances nicely against the zany wedding scenes.

On the Corner of Heartache and Love makes for a sweet afternoon dessert I highly recommend! This RONE award finalist may have another award-winner on her hands. 

Where can you get it?  Amazon 

SALE! All of Lisa Swinton’s previous books are on sale for $0.99! Such a deal! Amazon

About the Author:
Lisa Swinton caught the romance bug early by way of fairy tales and hasn’t been able to cure it since. Instead, she feeds her addiction with romance novels and films. In between being a doctor’s wife and mother of two, she occasionally puts her B.A. in Musical Theater to good use via community theater and church choir. In her elusive spare time, she enjoys researching her family tree and baking (especially with chocolate). She loves traveling, Jane Austen, and all things Italian. In her next life, she plans to be a professional organizer.
You can visit her at:

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Special People Participating in the Media Tour! Go check out these amazing authors and readers!

Anna Del C. Dye     Blog
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Laurie Lewis     Website & Blog
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Lisa Rector     Blog
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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Please Don't Hate the Anthem. Learn the Whole Story.

NFL players, and now youth are kneeling during the playing of The National Anthem. That's their right, and while I don't agree with it, I support their right to do it.

But now, there is hate speech about the anthem itself, with people saying that Francis Scott Key was racist, as is the anthem, and therefore "The Star-Spangled Banner" is not worthy of representing America. I think the real issue is that most of us don't know the whole story. I posted this response to an article I read supporting the claim of the anthem's racism. Here is a brief attempt to explain Key's words.

I am an author who spent eight years researching the Chesapeake conflict of the War of 1812, and I must respectfully disagree with this thread. You have to judge the song by the times in which it was written. It in many ways this song is what preserved the nation. 

The Chesapeake region had been under relentless attack. First it was economic blockades that crippled the economy, then the kidnapping of over 4000 Americans from boats and ships, impressing them into British naval service under threat of being hanged for treason if they resisted. 

Maryland cities like Havre De Grace and Leonardtown were bombed to oblivion. Key was on the battlefield when the British mowed through the troops at Bladensburg on the way to Washington City,  and then, the unthinkable happened. 

The Capital had been torched, the President's House, Capitol building, Library of Congress and most of the federal buildings burned. People weren't sure if the Constitution had survived. Even the President and other federal leaders had fled the city. Baltimore was next, and If she fell, the British would have cut us off north and south. Their next goal was to take the Mississippi which would have cut us off east and west. The nation would have been dissected.

Admiral Cockburn hated Baltimore because of her famed Clipper ships, and her strategic importance to the nation. She was the third largest port, and the largest port not occupied at the time, and he wanted that prize.

At that moment, if Baltimore fell, the nation would likely never be the same. Key knew that. He  also had family in the city, and while being held by the British, he heard Admiral Cockburn boast about the horror they would unleash upon Baltimore's citizens,  as they had done in Hampton. Virginia, where the British unleashed French prisoners upon the populace. Citizens were murdered and women were raped. These were the terrors that filled him that night of the bombardment.

When he saw the flag the next morning. he felt every possible emotion. Relief, gratitude, anger, patriotism. The icons of America had been burned in Washington, but a new symbol of America remained-- the Star-Spangled flag that gave proof that the city had held, and the the British had failed. Key's poem had been written under the most extreme duress, on the back on a piece of paper, as a conversation ensued during the agonizing hours of waiting passed. His poem was printed and circulated amongst the troops, rallying them,  raising a broken people from their knees, and giving them hope. That is why the anthem deserves to be honored. Because it gave a nation hope.

I have never heard that Key was racist. He struggled to choose the law over the clergy. he was the writer of hymns and a man who longed for a better world. But if you have proof of this claim, my only rebuttal is that we will find few men worthy of our admiration if we judge those of another era by today's understanding. We must measure men within the context of their own time, their own struggles, their own sensibilities, while celebrating the courageous visionaries who dared fight for something better.

So please don't hate the anthem. Learn the whole story. It is a beautiful story. it is every American's story.