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Happy Friday Everyone!

I’m writing this late (It’s almost not Friday anymore!) and coffee has turned to wine. It was a red blend of sorts I am not even sure how I acquired it, but one glass was enough. If you have any suggestions for excellent wines, let me know.

No matter what you write, a bit of poetic license can be a valuable asset to any writer’s arsenal.” 

Robert Lee Brewer

The last discussion I talked about overcoming writer’s block. I mentioned that poetry was in part, how I overcame it and I want to talk about it. I was inspired by the above quote that I got from the most recent Writer’s Digest. I agree I feel that every writer can benefit from some elements of poetry.

Poetry for me has been the building block of my creativity. I quit poetry five years ago because I was so discouraged by the negativity I found in my local poetry scene. I can’t help but wonder if leaving poetry had to do with my writer’s block. It’s like stopping took the wind out of my creative sails.

What happened was I looked for a mentor in a poet who deemed himself an expert in the city where I live, and it ended very badly. Portrayed himself as a willing person to help up and coming poets. Come to find out he had an insufficient understanding of how poetry should be and hurt me very badly with lack of support all the way to harassment. There is more to the story but not needed for this post. I quit poetry because to me I thought it was nothing but drama.

A few months ago I was sharing some of my writing with a friend, and I snuck in a few poems. She read my poetry and asked why I was not writing poetry. I gave her the answer that it was too much drama. She kept asking questions and it she helped me see that I had quit because I was wounded. She strongly encouraged me to start again. It made me think and meditate on doing just that. I processed through the hurt and worked through forgiveness and it got me ready to get on the right path.

A poetry site that I had been a part of just happened to send me an email to come back, so I did. I found 171 poems that I had written and forgotten. I mentioned this last time I saw a lot of writing I had squirreled away when I thought I had writer’s block. I went through the poems, and it took me three days to find them all and get them organized. Then I took up my pen and started.

When the poetry started flowing, I felt freedom. All these years of writer’s block are now only a memory. When I write poetry I connect to a depth of myself I pour out on paper. It not only makes me a better writer but a more consistent one at that.  I feel like poetry puts the heartbeat in my prose.

The brevity of poetry makes you focus on the poignancy of your word choices. There are also other poetic devices that help with flow and rhythm. When you train yourself to do it on a small scale, you naturally do it on a longer piece like prose. Poetry is my training ground, a prelude to more powerful prose.

Your prose is what most people are going to see. When you do poetry on the side, it’s helping you do the work behind the scenes to strengthen your narratives. If you get into poetry, you can use the poems you generate as another genre to publish in. Poetry itself at the moment is not a big money maker, but it is a satisfying way to get your work out into the world if you so choose.

As Robert Lee Brewer says “a bit a bit of poetic license can be a valuable asset..” I mean it has been for me, and I suggest you try it. There are some great poetry sites online that can help you learn more about it. I am currently taking some free courses on Allpoetry.com If you need help figuring out how to get to the classes message me and I’ll be glad to help!

Whatever helps you to get your words on paper do it with boldness.

Do you have experience with poetry?

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Review Madam Tulip and the Bones of Chance by David AhernMadam Tulip and the Bones of Chance by David Ahern
Published by Malin Press on April 12, 2018
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 362
Source: Author
Goodreads
Amazon

A surprise role in a movie takes actress Derry O’Donnell to a romantic castle in the Scottish Highlands. But romance soon turns to fear and suspicion. Someone means to kill, and Derry, moonlighting as celebrity fortune-teller Madam Tulip, is snared in a net of greed, conspiracy and betrayal.

A millionaire banker, a film producer with a mysterious past, a gun-loving wife, a PA with her eyes on Hollywood, a handsome and charming estate manager—each has a secret to share and a request for Madam Tulip.

As Derry and her friend Bruce race to prevent a murder, she learns to her dismay that the one future Tulip can’t predict is her own.

Madame Tulip and the Bones of Chance is the third Madam Tulip adventure.

Derry is back waiting for that next big audition. When she is given a spot on a movie with no audition she is very skeptical. Especially when she finds out she was recommended by someone she does not trust. After some negotiating she and Bruce get onto the movie. Things get dicey when she puts on her Madam Tulip costume and finds herself deep in a mystery. As always she gets more involved than planned as she tries to figure out what is going on.

In an Oyster Shell –  I feel like this was the best installment yet. I love this series and am excited when a new book comes out.

The Pearls – I love the push and pull of Derry and her Madam Tulip persona. She’s getting to be well known in Europe and that makes for exciting possibilities. It’s very interesting that she get’s cast as a fortune teller though they really wanted Madam Tulip. I love her seventh son sense that always seems to get her in trouble.

This book is extremely well written. There is great word economy with excellent style. Ahern is a very talented author and it came through in this particular book. The writing devices used made for an almost immaculate novel.

You can’t talk about the Madam Tulip series and not say something about the characters. I love that Bruce is Derry’s sidekick and is often there in her time of need. There was a nice array of characters that were causing lots of trouble this made for an interesting read. Vanessa and Jacko always add depth to the story and more problems for Derry.

The Sand –  There is one part of the story I don’t understand but I’ll ask the author. I’m sure I just missed something.

5 pearls! Well done David!

5 Stars

About David Ahern

David Ahern grew up in a theatrical family in Ireland but ran away to Scotland to become a research psychologist and sensible person. He earned his doctorate and taught in major universities but could never explain to his granny why he didn’t own a stethoscope.

Finding the challenge of pretending to know things exhausting, David Ahern shaved off his beard and absconded once more, this time to work in television. He became a writer, director and producer, creating international documentary series. He won numerous awards but found nobody was much impressed.

For want of a better plan, David Ahern took to writing fiction. Madame Tulip isn’t his first novel, but writing it was the most fun he’s ever had with a computer. He is now writing the third in the series and enjoys pretending that this activity is actual work.

David Ahern lives in the beautiful West of Ireland with his wife, two cats and a vegetable garden of which he is inordinately proud.

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by Jodi Carmichael
Published by Great Plains Publications

Ford is on a family trip to Paris where his family can regal in the history of his great-grandfather. A strange thing happens when he starts getting visions of the past. He and his brother with their American cousin get thrown in a decade’s old mystery that needs to be solved. With his newly manifested clairvoyant abilities, they try to get to the bottom of it. Little do they know that they also have the attention of MI6 and the CIA.

In an Oyster Shell – This was a surprising read that I didn’t think I was going to like and left me completely astounded.

The Pearls – At first I thought I had stumbled on a middle-grade read and was a little disappointed. Not much after that, I was wowed by a mystery that engrossed me. I don’t think this is middle-grade though it does have younger characters. It was a beautiful meld of paranormal, mystery, and an exotic setting.

The characters where few. There is usually a myriad of side characters and in comparison, this book had very few. It made the focus on the characters very powerful. The few characters packed a punch. It was quite refreshing for once.

I like the paranormal aspect. I’m not a fan of all paranormal but a clairvoyant of the past I’m okay with. Using it to solve a family mystery made for a really great story.

The Sand – It was a really great story. I really hope that the author turns this into a series!

4 Pearls!

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About Jodi Carmichael

Jodi Carmichael’s dreams of becoming an author began to come true when she attended her first SCBWI conference in Los Angeles in 2007 and was nominated for the Sue Alexander Most Promising New Work Award. A champion for the underdog and kids who think differently, she wrote SPAGHETTI IS NOT A FINGER FOOD AND OTHER LIFE LESSONS (2013) which won numerous awards including a Gold Mom’s Choice and a Silver Moonbeam in 2013. In 2016 her novel about relationship abuse, FOREVER JULIA (2016) won the Manitoba Book Award; The McNally Robinson Books for Young People Awards – Older Category and received a Bronze Moonbeam Award for Young Adult Fiction – Mature Issues.

When not channeling characters from her books, she can be found strolling Manitoba beaches with her husband, two daughters, and exceedingly scruffy Border Terrier named Zoe.

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Sunday Post – April 22, 2018

Happy Earth Day!

This ” is what has been going on this week at Writing Pearls –

Blog Tours and Reviews – Click the Image to see the reviews.

This week’s discussion talks about my personal journey with Writer’s Block.

Check out all the posts!

The Question of the Week –  Spring has been slow to come here in the PNW? How has spring been in your part of the world?

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Today ” I’m cheating and drinking a delicious instant espresso with a little bit of cream. Somedays I’m too busy to go to the coffee shop.

What’s your drink of choice today? Wine doesn’t count unless it is after 5! HaHa!

For the last five years, I’ve been dealing with a wicked case of writer’s block. It was all an internal struggle of emotional and mental dilemmas. My main problem is I worked myself into a petrified fear of success and assurance of failure. I worked myself into so much fear that I couldn’t work on my stuff.

I came up with a plan. I started a book blog. I was told once that the best reader was the best writer. If I couldn’t write for myself, I would write for other people. All the while getting a backdoor experience of the industry I am trying to be connected to. I considered it constant forward motion even if it wasn’t a direct way of writing for myself.

I attended an author/reader conference this fall as I am on staff with the magazine that holds it. I poured over the agenda and picked out the workshops that promised would help with writer’s block. One particular workshop was done by a well-known alleged author. (She is not well known to me) It specifically said that she would cover writer’s block.

I get into the workshop a few minutes late. The perks of being on staff you don’t have to pay for anything but a plane ticket. The downside is sometimes your duties pull you away. So she’s in the middle of giving us a blow by blow description of one of her books. I was super confused because nothing that she was supposed to cover was being covered. I held in there thinking she would eventually get to the topics I was desperately wanting to be included. In the end, she didn’t cover them but opened up the room for question. So I ask the million dollar question How do you deal with writer’s block. Her answer quite condescendingly Is “I never get writer’s block.” I was shocked and a little offended. I had to quickly bite my tongue because my retort would have been excusing me for being a mere mortal. LOL! Thank goodness I do have manners and kept my thoughts to myself.

I was so discouraged; her answer made me feel alone and inadequate. Like I was the only one It did not help the ever-growing insecurities that were holding me back from writing.

On a more positive note, the next day a writer who had been at the workshop pulled me aside and nicely gave me some useful pointers on how to work through my problem. His answer simple write. Didn’t help with the raging battle of conflict I was dealing with, but his kindness did lift my spirits. I am so appreciative that he took the time to soften the blow. I knew to write, but it was holding me back.

A few months ago I handed some old writings of mine to a friend some of its poetry some of its prose. I stopped writing poetry about the time the intensity of the writer’s block started. I had one excuse but she help me get to the bottom of the cause and that was some discouragement that I had obtained from a local poet. That again fed my fears and insecurities.

She encouraged me to pick up my poetry again. I didn’t do it right away I thought about what she said.  It helped me to look at the real issue that was keeping me back constant discouragement. At the same time, I got an email from a poetry site that I used to use. Some would call it kismet I call it G-d’s timing. I took a peek at my old account and was astonished that I had a queue of 171 poems, which I had written and forgotten about. This peaked my curiosity what else did I write and forget about?

I scoured all my files both on the cloud and my hard drive. I found another 30 poems and the starts of 10 books. Some more complete than others. I was astonished though my conscious was ignoring my efforts my sub-conscious was finding a way to get itself known even if it would be years for me to discover what it was trying to say!

It encouraged me to pick up poetry again. I will talk in another post about how I feel poetry personally puts the pulse back into my creativity. It frees me to want to work on my prose. I found a way just to write quieting the destructive voice of fear and insecurity.

This is my journey with writer’s block. What my kind acquaintance at the conference said was true write. What I learned from all this if you are a writer at heart and soul even if you are struggling to get your head above water your sub-conscious will find a way out yet if it has to do it without your knowledge for a time. I would also like to mention in my season of self-perceived writer’s block I also wrote hundreds and hundreds of reviews for this blog and other outlets. I was fooling myself; I hope I am finally finding my way out of that.

Writer’s are going to write one way, or another is what I learned, even when we are not paying attention.

In conclusion, this is my personal experience with writer’s block. Writer’s block can happen for many reasons. You could just be stuck in a storyline. You could be lacking inspiration, or it could be as serious as being blocked by some severe mental and emotional trauma.

I had to learn how to fight my own battle with writer’s block. There was no amount of advice that was going to help me until I was ready to face the root issues of holding me back.  This may be true for where you are at, but I will share my thoughts anyway.

With that said here is my advice from my experience.

It is true to get over writer’s block just write. If it has to be something as simple as journaling do it. If you are stuck read a good book and write a review. You learn a lot by merely reading others works and writing your reflections. Writing poetry can be an instant gratification that will quickly satiate the hunger of the creative writer. Try your hand at writing articles and submitting them. Start small if you have to work up to your goals. It will help boost your confidence and get you out there. If you’re stuck on what to write about Google writing prompts. There is no shame in that!

Last but certainly not least don’t be shy about connecting with other authors. Ask for advice. If they are rude (like that one author), just ignore it and move on to someone else with a little more compassion. Keep fighting until you get where you want to be!

It’s been said over and over to me lately that the world needs your story and nobody can write it but you! Do whatever it takes to make it happen. Be sure find a way to move in constant forward motion even if it feels like crawling.

I could go on an on about this subject because it has been a critical hindrance to my achieving my writing dreams. I hope this helps.

How do you deal with writer’s block?

 

 

 

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ARC Review – Be Careful What You Joust for by Ryan Hauge and Ivy SmoakBe Careful What You Joust For by Ryan Hauge, Ivy Smoak
on April 17th 2018
Genres: Fantasy
Source: Author

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Goodreads
Amazon

The fiercest knights in the realm are coming together to compete in the Joust for Arwin's Lance, a tournament that will divide even the closest alliances. The winner alone will have the power to start or prevent a war from unfolding across the peaceful lands of Pentavia.

House Hornbolt, a prominent family that desires peace above all else, is hosting the tournament. The Hornbolt’s have always been strict followers of tradition. The first born son wears the armor of a knight. The second takes the priestly Oath of Arwin. And the daughters get married off to the most eligible suitors.

The eldest son is the favorite to win the tournament. But the rest of the Hornbolts aren't as eager to follow the paths laid out for them. What if the second born wants to be a knight too? And what if the eldest daughter just gave her heart to a common thief?

Customs are meant to be broken. But that’s not all that threatens to shatter House Hornbolt, not when a secret deeper than the late king's grave is unearthed right before the joust.

The fate of Pentavia hangs in the balance as war becomes imminent. And the scales are about to tip.

One wrong move and everything could fall to pieces.

House Hornbolt is holding a tournament. The tournament determines who will rule and have the power to keep the peace or start a war. There are many contenders, but there are two Marcus and the Prince that want to see it through to the end. Isolda has a premonition that not all of her sons will make it through. She is on the hunt to find who killed her father and tried to stop them from causing any more trouble. Her daughter tries to choose between two suitors. Why the father has only focused that his son wins the lance and keeps it from his enemies that are determined to go to war.

In ” an Oyster Shell – This book took me over a week to read which is a long time for me. It’s not an easy to read book but has good qualities that may interest some of you.

The Pearls – This book pulls you into the vast world of Pentavia, where there are castles princes, knights and kings. The world building is detailed with precision and sucked me right in.

There were a lot of POV you got to know most of the characters intimately. You were often right inside their head. It’s tough to accomplish that and not lose the reader. This feat was impressive. I’ve never seen it done like this before.

There was lots of passion, whether it was for the deity or a person. Every character had their motive, and it was fun following them through to each one.

The Sand – I am bummed about the end. I did not like the conclusion. Even though the POV was distinctive and well done, I’m pretty sure its the reason it took me so long to read this book. I won’t be continuing with the series because it is too involved for my taste.

If you love epic tales and don’t mind a long read you might like this book and the books to come.

 

3 Stars

About Ivy Smoak

Ivy Smoak is the Amazon bestselling author of The Hunted series. When she’s not writing, you can find her binge watching too many TV shows, taking long walks, playing outside, and generally refusing to act like an adult. She lives with her husband in Delaware.

About Ryan Hauge

Ryan Hauge is the author of the highly anticipated Pentavia fantasy series. Drawing inspiration from his toy business and the countless computer games he grew up playing, he weaves tales of mystery and intrigue.

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Blog Tour with Review – The Unbelievable, Inconceivable, Unforeseeable Truth About Ethan Wilder by Cookie O’GormanThe Unbelievable, Inconceivable, Unforeseeable Truth About Ethan Wilder by Cookie O'Gorman
on April 5, 2018
Genres: YA, Romance, Mystery

I received this book for free from YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Goodreads
Amazon

In the south, everyone has a secret--and murder is served with sweet tea.

The word's out: Ethan Wilder’s coming back to town, and the people of Bowie, Georgia are in a southern tizzy. Everyone knows the story. He shot and killed his sister four years ago, and people say his father, Jim Wilder, the biggest holy roller this side of the Mississippi, sent him packing for just that reason. Even if her death was unofficially ruled a suicide, Ethan’s return has everybody talking.

Seventeen-year-old Delilah Doherty can’t go anywhere without hearing his name. Born and raised in Bowie, Delilah knows firsthand about the gossipmongers and how they love a good scandal. The daughter of a wild child and niece of the local psychic, she’s also the only one who doubts Ethan’s guilt.

After Ethan saves her life, the two start a slow and steady burn neither can deny. But when Bowie's spiritual leader is nearly murdered, it rocks the small southern town to its core. Delilah and Ethan are caught in the crossfire, their relationship threatened before it's even begun. Someone has it out for Ethan's family. With everyone convinced of Ethan's guilt, it's up to Delilah to unravel the mystery before someone else gets hurt or worse...dead.

Delilah Doherty is all too familiar with the rumor mill of the small town of Bowie. As she is the daughter of a woman of questionable morals and the niece of a woman who practices things like palm readings. Delilah knows all too well how brutal the townspeople can be. Ethan Wilder is coming back to town and it is assumed that he killed his sister four years ago. Guilty with no trial in the eyes of the common people Delilah starts to wonder if everyone might be wrong. Attracted to the towns newly reunited bad boy she is bound to find out the truth.

In ” an Oyster Shell –  It was a really good book a little confusing at times but it worked itself out and was another stellar novel which is come to be expected of Cookie O’Gorman.

The Pearls – I loved the portrayal of the small town rumor mill. It ended up being a driving force in the book. Delilah was just resigned to it and it was an interesting element to the story. It impressed me immensely how it was done and earned its own paragraph in this review. I am constantly amazed at O’Gormans ingenuity in books. The rumor mill was a background to the story but it was always there.

I loved Delilah and Ethan. I am not one for book boyfriends. (I love my husband!) If one is though I’d imagine Ethan would make a good one. He’s a brooding bad boy with deep secrets and a strong moral code. Both Delilah and Ethan were anomalies of characters. Delilah was a good girl despite her families reputation. Ethan was the bad boy even though he was the preacher’s son.

Usually, I would talk about the romance. It was really good but what was even more illuminating was the mystery weaved into this story. It was super unique. I really liked it. You got the benefits of a great YA romance with a mystery that kept you on your toes.

The Sand –  The names would be switched between first and last names. I found it a bit confusing but I figured it out eventually.

5 Pearls!

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About Cookie O’Gorman

Cookie O’Gorman writes YA romance to give readers a taste of happily-ever-after. Small towns, quirky characters, and the awkward yet beautiful moments in life make up her books. Cookie also has a soft spot for nerds and ninjas. Her debut novel ADORKABLE is out now! Her second book NINJA GIRL was released March 30,2017!

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Blog Tour With Review – Natural Thorn Killer by Kate Dyer -SeeleyNatural Thorn Killer by Kate E. Dyer-Seeley
Published by Kensington Publishing Corporation on March 27th 2018
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 320
Goodreads
Amazon

Cut down among the flowers . . .

Britta Johnston might be a late bloomer, but after leaving her deadbeat husband and dead-end job, she's finally pursuing her artistic passion at her aunt Elin's floral boutique, Blooma, in Portland, Oregon. It's on the banks of the Willamette, in a quaint district of cobblestone paths and cherry trees. The wine bar featuring Pacific Northwest vintages is a tasty bonus, offering another kind of bouquet to enjoy. But things aren't as peaceful as they look.

For one thing, someone's been leaving dead roses around--and a sleazy real estate developer who wants the waterfront property has put a big-money offer on the table. Then, after a contentious meeting of local business owners, he's found on the floor of the shop, with Elin's garden shears planted in his chest. And before the police decide to pin the crime on her beloved aunt, Britta will have to find out who arranged this murder . . .

Britta Johnston is done with her dead-end job and fines the perfect out to go to Portland when she catches her husband cheating. She ends up in her Aunt’s florist shop Blooma where she can get back to pursuing her passion. There is a small kink or should we say small shears to the chest when Britta finds a body in her aunt’s shop. She works together with her new friends and possible suspects. (Hard to tell the difference who is who). To get to the bottom of who killed Frank.

” In an Oyster Shell –  Was a little disappointing that this book seems to echo elements of her other books it was a little predictable.

The Pearls –  I loved the setting. Blooma the florist shop in a little village off the banks of the Willamette somewhere. Though it was set in the big city of Portland the small area of the village had a small town feel. It but the cozy in this cozy mystery.

There were a lot of characters but they were easy to distinguish from one another. Britta was a great character with Swedish background with her aunt. I liked that there was a little Swede was thrown in. It was down well so you know whats going on. That Britta made friends with a couple of the cops right of the back was fun. I can’t see where that goes in the end.

The mystery was fun to follow. I like that just about everybody was a suspect. Britta is the new kid in town she doesn’t know these people any one of them could be killers. I liked the small romance plots that were weaved into the mysteries. It gave the story nice depth.

The Sand – At the beginning of the book I was disappointed because it was taking a similar plot to another one of this author’s book. It followed a similar pattern for sure. I hope in the next books that it will break away into its own more distinctive storyline.

3.5 Pearls

 

3.5 Stars

About Kate E. Dyer-Seeley

Kate Dyer-Seeley writes the Pacific Northwest Mystery Series for Kensington Publishing, featuring the rugged landscapes of the PNW and a young journalist who bills herself as an intrepid adventurer in order to land a gig writing for Northwest Extreme.

The first two books in the series, SCENE OF THE CLIMB and SLAYED ON THE SLOPES, are available now. SILENCED IN THE SURF and FIRST DEGREE MUDDER coming in 2016.

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Review – See Her Run by A.K. Leigh

Review – See Her Run by  A.K. LeighSee Her Run: by A.K. Leigh
on January 23, 2018
Genres: Suspense, Romance
Pages: 307

I received this book for free from YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Goodreads
Amazon

See Her Run blends elements of romance, suspense, and psychological thriller in an exploration of life after severe trauma.

Diana King arrives in Smithfield, North Carolina as part of her witness protection relocation. After six months of running from her crime boss ex-husband, she is looking forward to starting over in the quaint country town.

Jonathan Smith has no time for love. Not after the devastating relationships he has experienced. He prefers to focus on his Mixed Martial Arts business, his family farm, and the management of the town he owns.

That is, until he meets the mysterious newcomer. Something stirs in him; something familiar that remains elusive. This only serves to increase his curiosity – and attraction.

Though he is unaware of the important connection he has to her past, Diana realises immediately. Prevented from divulging the information, she struggles between the growing feelings she has for Jonathan and the freedom she fought so hard to obtain.

But, when secrets are exposed, and the past comes looking, will Diana and Jonathan’s new-found love survive? Or will they pay for it with their lives?

In the end . . . you can run from everything except your past.

Diana King has to learn to answer to her new name as she runs to her next safe house in witness protection. The last person she expects to see is Jonathon Smith her unexpected connection to the past she is trying to forget. Jonathon doesn’t recognize her but realizes she feels very familiar and wants more than a friendship. When the past catches up with both of them it could undo all the fragile trust they have built together.

In ” an Oyster Shell – A story that will leave you on the edge of your seat and cheering for Jonathon and Diana.

The Pearls –  I loved the book form the very beginning. You can tell something is wrong but you don’t know what it is. Curiosity keeps you turning the pages. At first, you want more information but your curiosity is satisfied soon enough as the mystery unravels page after page.

The small town setting encased a lot of great characters. Small towns could be a good place to hide sometimes, but not always. People getting interested in where a stranger comes from could jeopardize the anonymity that is trying to be achieved.

Diana had a lot of baggage. Jonathon was a loving gentle hero that helped her bring her walls down. Even in the midst of danger and chaos, they come together in a romance that will leave you wanting more.

The Sand – They say a good story always ends too soon. That was the case with this book I wanted more it was so good!

4 Pearls!

4 Stars

About A.K. Leigh

Australian romance author, star-gazer, hot chocolate addict, incurable romantic, daydream believer, and identical triplet!

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